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HE  HABITS  OF  GOOD  SOCIETY. 


? 


THE 


HABITS  OF  GOOD  SOCIETY 


%  Jattbkrok  of  (Biqmfcte 


LADIES  AND  GENTLEMEN. 


THOUGHTS,  HINTS,  AND  ANECDOTES  CONCERNING  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES 
NICE  POINTS  OP  TASTE  AND  GOOD  MANNERS  ; 
AND  THE  ART  OF  MAKING  ONE's-SELF  AGREEABLE. 

THE  'WHOLE  INTERSPERSED  "WITH 
HUMOROUS  ILLUSTRATIONS  OP  SOCIAL  PREDICAMENTS  J 
REMARKS  ON  THE  HISTORY  AND  CHANGES  OF  FASHION  ; 

AND  THR 

DIFFERENCES  OF  ENGLISH  AND  CONTINENTAL  ETIQUETTE 


LONDON: 
JAMES   HOGG   &  SON 


CONTENTS. 


Preface. 


PAGE 

..11 


The  Lady's  Preface,  17 

Thoughts  on  Society  and  the  Spirit  of  Social  Observances,  .  .19 


Manners  : 

How  can  they  be  acquired? 

Different  means  investigated. 

Necessity  of  some  Guide. 

Ancient  and  Modern  Authori- 
ties on  Manners. 

The  true  principle  of  Manners. 

What  is  Society  1 

The  necessity  of  Social  Inter- 
course. 

Three  Classes  of  Bad 
Society  : 

1.  Low  Society,  distinguished  by 

Familiarity. 
Anecdotes  of  Extreme  Famili- 
arity in  the  last  Three  Cen- 
turies. 

Familiarity  from  want  of  Re- 
spect ;  from  Coarseness ;  from 
Shyness ;  from  Curiosity. 

2.  Vulgar  Society,  distinguished  by 

Pretension  ;  Gentility  ;  Ser- 
vility ;  Overscrupulousness ; 
Assumption  of  Refinement 
in  Language  and  in  Habits. 

3.  Dangerous  Society : 

Sketch  of  English  Society  from 
the  Sixteenth  Century. 

Rise  and  Present  Position  of 
the  Middle  Classes. 


The  Requisites  of  Good 
Society  : 

1.  Good  Breeding. 

2.  Education. 

3.  Cultivation  of  Taste. 

4.  Reason. 

5.  The  Art  of  Speech. 

6.  A  Knowledge  of  English 

Literature. 

7.  Moral  Character. 

8.  Temper. 

9.  Hospitality. 

10.  Good  Manners. 

11.  Birth. 

12.  Wealth. 

13.  Rank. 

14.  Distinction. 

The  Spirit  of  Social  Ob- 
servances : 
The  Connexion  between  the 

Laws   of  Christianity  and 

those  of  Society. 
Domestic  Position. 
Paterfamilias. 
The  Matron. 

The  Young  Married  Man. 

The  Bachelor. 

Tbe  Young  Lady. 

The  Art  of  making  One,s-self 


6 


CONTENTS. 


PART  I.— THE  INDIVIDUAL. 


PAGE 

CHAPTER  I. — The  Deessing-Room,  101 

Cleanliness.  The  Nails. 

The  Bath  :  Hot,  Cold,  and  Razors  and  Shaving. 

Tepid.  Beards,  Moustaches,  WMskers. 

The  Teeth.  The  Hair. 


CHAPTER  II.— The  Lady's  Toilet,  118 


Early  Rising. 
Cleanliness  and  Exercise. 
Rouge  and  Cosmetics. 


The  Hair. 

Perfumes,  Toilet  Appliances, 
&c. 


CHAPTER  III.— Deess,  128 


Fashion :  Appropriateness  to 
Age ;  to  Position ;  to  Place  ; 
Town  and  Country;  on  the 
Continent;  to  Climate;  to 
Size;  to  different  occasions. 


Simplicity. 
Jewellery. 

Maxims  for  Ornaments. 
Orders,  &c. 

Cleanness  and  Freshness. 
Linen. 

Seasonable  Dress. 


Estimate  of  a  Wardrobe. 
Morning  Dress  at  Home. 
Dress  for  Walking. 

....  for  Visits. 

....  for  Dinner  Parties. 

....  for  Evening  Parties  and 

Balls. 
The  Hat. 

Well-dressed  and  111- dressed. 


Different  Styles  of  Dress. 
Sporting  Costume. 
Hunting,  &c. 


CHAPTER  IV.— Lady's  Deess, 

The  Love  of  Dress. 

Extravagance,  Pecuniary,  and 
in  Fashion. 

Modern  Dress,  Stays,  Tight- 
ness, &c. 

Dress  and  Feeling. 

The  Ordinary  In-door  Dress. 

The  Ordinary  Out-door  Dress. 


 160 

Country  Dress. 

Carriage  and  Visiting  Dress. 

Evening  Costume  at  Home. 

Dinner  Dress. 

Evening  Party  Dress. 

Ball  Dress. 

Riding  Dress. 

Court  Dress, 


CONTENTS. 


7 


CHAPTER  V. — Accomplishments, . 


PAGE 

.188 


Their  Value. 

Self-defence— Boxing. 

The  Sword  and  the  Fist. 

Duelling. 

Field  Sports. 

Riding. 

Mounting. 

Assisting  a  Lady  to  Mount. 

Driving. 

Dancing. 

Quadrilles. 

Round-dances. 

Hints  on  Dancing. 

The  Yaltz. 

Polka. 

Other  Dances. 


The  Piano. 
Music  in  General. 
Singing. 
Cards. 

Round  Games. 
Languages. 

Knowledge  of  Current  Affairs. 
Carving :   Hints   on  Carving 

and  Helping. 
Soup. 
Fish. 

Joints  (Beef,  Mutton,  Lamb, 
Veal,  Pork,  Ham,  Venison). 

Animals  served  whole. 

Fowls,  Game,  Goose,  Turkey, 
&c. 


CHAPTER  VI. — Feminine  Accomplishments,  , 


230 


Their  Necessity. 

Social  and  Domestic  Value. 

Music. 

Choice  of  Instruments. 
Singing. 

Age  a  restriction. 
Choice  of  Songs. 


Etiquette  of  Singing  and  Play- 
ing. 

Appropriateness . 

German  and  Italian  Singing. 

Working. 

"Working  Parties  Abroad. 
Appropriateness  of  Work. 


CHAPTER  VII. — Manners,  Carriage,  and  Habits, 


,239 


The  necessity  for  Laws  of  Eti- 
quette. 

Manner  :  value  of  a  good  one. 
Rules  for  preserving  it. 
Self-respect. 
Affectation. 

Different  kinds  of  Manner  to 

be  avoided. 
A  change  of  Manner  demanded 

by  circumstances. 
Carriage. 


Dignity. 

Physical  Carriage,  and  how  a 

man  should  walk. 
The  Smile. 

Vehement  Action  to  be  avoided. 
Certain  Bad  Habits. 
Smoking  discussed. 
Etiquette  thereof. 
A  Lecture  on  Eating  and 

Drinking  at   Dinner,  and 

Habits  at  Meals. 


8 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  VIII.— The  Cabbiage  of  a  Lady, 


PAGB 

.263 


Its  Importance  to  the  Sex. 

Young  Ladies. 

Modesty. 

Agreeableness . 

Politeness. 

Dignity. 

Delicacy  of  Language. 


Temper. 

Fastness,  Flirting,  &c. 
The  Prude  and  the  Blue  Stock- 
ing. 

Bearing  of  Married  Women. 

French  Manners. 

The  Physical  Carriage  of  Ladies. 


PART  II. — THE  INDIVIDUAL  IN  INDIVIDUAL 
RELATIONS. 

CHAPTER  LX.— In  Public,  274 


The  Promenade. 
The  "  Cut." 

Its  Folly  and  objectionable 

character. 
Sometimes  necessary. 
Should  be  made  Inoffensively. 
Etiquette  of  the  "  Cut." 
The  Salute. 
Its  History. 


Different 
tion. 


Modes   of  Saluta- 


Shaking  Hands. 
Various  ways  of  doing  so. 
Walking  and    Driving  with 
Ladies. 

Etiquette  of  Railway  Travel- 
ling. 


CHAPTER  X.— In  Peivate, 


.290 


The  Visit. 

Proper  Time  and  Occasions 
for  Visiting. 

Introduction  by  Letters. 

Visits  of  Condolence  and  Con- 
gratulation, 


Hours  for  Visits. 
The  Cards. 
Etiquette  in  Calling. 
"  Not  at  Home." 
Visits  in  Good  Society. 
Visits  in  Country  Houses. 


CONTENTS. 


9 


PART  III.— THE  INDIVIDUAL  IN  COMPANY. 


PAGE 

CHAPTER  XL— Dinners,  Diners,  and  Dinnee-Parties,  300 

Dinner  Parties — By  whom  [What  to  put  on  the  Table. 

and  to  whom  given.  Soup. 
Selection  of  Guests.  ("Wine  and  its  Etiquettes. 

Their  Number.  Fish. 
The  Dining-room.  j  The  Joint. 

Its  Furniture  and  Temperature. !  "Vegetables. 
The  Shape  of  the  Table.  jThe  Order  of  Serving. 

Lighting.  ,  Salad. 

The  Servants.  Grace. 
The  Russian  mode  of  Laying  Dinner  Etiquette. 

the  Table.  ;  Punctuality,  &c. 


CHAPTER  XII. — Ladies  at  Dinner. 


.321 


Invitations. 

"Whom  to  Invite  and  whom  not 
The     Lady  Receiving 

Guests. 
Order  of  Precedence. 


Of  Proceeding  to  the  Dining- 
room. 

the  The  Ladies  Retire. 

The  Ladies  in  the  Drawing- 
I  room. 


CHAPTER  XIII.— Balls,  

Their  Place  in  Society. 
The  Invitations. 
"Whom  to  Invite. 
The  Proper  Number. 
The    Requisites  for  a  Good 
Ball. 

Arrangement  of  the  Rooms. 

Lighting. 

The  Floor. 

The  Music. 

Refreshments. 


 330 

The  Supper. 

Ball-room  Etiquette. 

Receiving  the  Guests. 

Introductions. 

The  Invitation  to  Dance. 

Ball-room  Acquaintance. 

Going  to   Refreshments  and 

Supper. 
Manners  at  Supper. 
Flirtation. 
Public  Balls. 


CHAPTER  XIV.— Morning  and  Evening  Parties,  346 


"  Making  a  Party." 

Town  Parties  (Receptions,  Pri- 
vate Concerts,  Amateur 
Theatricals,  Tea-Party,  Ma- 
tinees). 


General  Rules. 

Country  Parties  (Evening  par- 
ties, Outdoor-parties  and  Pic- 
nics). 

General  Rules. 


10 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  XV.- Marriage, 


pagb 
.360 


Offers. 

Engagements. 

Marriage  Contracts  and  Settle- 
ments. 
The  License. 
The  Trousseau, 
The  Bridesmaids. 
Invitations. 


The  Lady's  Dress. 
The  Gentleman's  Dress. 
Going  to  the  Church. 
The  Ceremony. 
The  Breakfast. 
Travelling  Dress. 
Fees  to  Servants. 
Presents,  &c. 


CHAPTER  XVI.— Presentation  at  Court  375 


Who  is  entitled  to  it  ?  IThe  Lord  Chamberlain's  Regu- 

Whom  to  apply  to.  '  lations. 

Etiquette  of  the  Presence. 


PREFACE. 


I  am  the  Man  in  the  Club-Window.  Whicn  club  and 
•which  window?  you  ask,  and  is  it  in  Pall-Mall  or  St. 
James'  Street  ?  I  regret  that  I  must  decline  to  satisfy 
your  very  laudable  curiosity.  But  there  are  other  means 
of  doing  so  :  the  "  clerks"  at  the  army-tailor's,  the  police- 
man on  beat,  even  the  crossing-sweeper  a  little  lower  down 
will,  I  fancy,  know  whom  you  mean,  if  you  ask  for  the 
Man  in  the  Club-Window. 

I  feel  less  delicacy  in  explaining  to  you  why  I  sit  in  the 
club-window,  and  how  I  come  to  have  sat  there  for  the 
last  ten  years.  I  say  "  sat,"  but  I  may  add  f<  stood,"  for 
I  do  vary  my  position.  When  day  is  waning  in  the  west, 
and  the  passing  populace  of  the  streets  fails  to  interest  me 
any  longer,  such  moments  are  the  drearier  ones  of  my  life. 

I  am  a  bachelor. 

In  the  year  which  followed  the  French  Eevolution,  I 
was  left  by  a  very  severe  fever,  weak,  morbid,  and  inca- 
pable of  mixing  in  any  society.  I  could  only  support  the 
translation  from  my  sick-room  to  my  club.  Unable  to 
read,  unwilling  to  talk,  and  still  less  inclined  to  take  part 
in  cards  or  billiards,  my  sole  amusement  was  to  observe.  I 
took  in  the  window  a  seat,  which  has  since  by  common 
consent  been  reserved  for  me,  and  there  I  have  sat  ever 
since  during  three  months  of  the  year,  from  three  to 
11 


12 


PREFACE. 


seven  p.m.  throughout  the  season.  My  only  change  has  been 
to  shift  my  chair  from  one  side  to  the  other,  or  to  rise  to 
get  nearer  to  the  pane  of  glass.  A  very  useless  existence, 
you  will  say.  Pardon  me.  The  present  work  will,  I  think, 
prove  the  contrary. 

My  prospect  has  been  twofold,  that  without  and  that 
within  the  club.  Let  me  begin  with  the  former.  On  the 
opposite  or  non-club  side  of  the  street,  my  view  extends  to 
the  following  establishments  : — First,  there  is  a  fashionable 
hotel  at  some  distance  on  my  right ;  next  to  this  are  well- 
known  dining-rooms,  celebrated  for  their  cook,  their  wines, 
and  their  prices.  The  adjoining  house  is  occupied  by 
several  tenants,  the  principal  of  whom  is  a  milliner,  who 
holds  the  highest  place  in  the  estimation  of  the  London 
fair,  and  the  execration  of  their  husbands  and  fathers.  The 
next  house  is  that  of  a  well-patronized  circulating  library, 
certainly  more  old-fashioned  than  Mr.  Mudie's,  but  perhaps 
on  that  very  account  more  a  favourite  with  certain  classes. 
Then  comes  my  army-tailor  on  the  ground  floor,  and  above 
him  a  society  for  the  propagation  of  something,  but  whether 
useful  knowledge  or  fish,  I  am  not  in  a  position  to  state. 
Next  to  the  army-tailor's  is  a  sombre  establishment,  of 
which  from  time  to  time  we  hear  in  the  newspapers^  as 
yielding  a  number  of  so-called  "  fashionable"  young  men, 
a  green  cloth,  and  a  pair  of  dice-boxes,  for  the  embarrass- 
ment of  an  intelligent  magistrate.  Beyond  this  is  another 
sombre  mansion,  with  a  large  board  announcing  in  the 
season  that  the  "  Exhibition  of  Painters  ia  Distemper"  is 
there  held,  and  beyond  the  exhibition  I  have  never  suc- 
ceeded in  penetrating. 

It  will  be  easily  understood  that  establishments  of  this 
varied  character  bring  visitors  of  a  very  various  description. 


PEEFACE. 


13 


To  the  hotel  come  our  country  cousins  and  their  boxes ;  to 
the  dining-rooms  the  young  bachelors  from  Rotten  Row ;  to 
the  milliner's  all  the  elite  of  London  beauty  and  fashion ; 
to  the  library  a  great  number  of  dowagers  and  elderly 
females  ;  to  the  army-tailor's  a  few  young  dandies  ;  to  the 
society  for  propagation  a  smaller  number  of  clergymen  and 
philanthropists;  to  the  "hell"  next  to  it,  various  waifs  and 
raffs  of  the  worst  description;  and  to  the  gallery,  when 
open,  half  the  society  of  the  West  End. 

With  such  an  ebb  and  flow  of  life  I  might  have  enough 
to  occupy  my  four  hours  of  idleness,  but  this  is  not  all. 
Between  me  and  these  points  of  attraction  there  are  two 
side-pavements  and  a  very  broad  road.  On  the  former  I 
see  specimens  from  every  rank  of  male  life,  and  the  lower 
ranks  of  the  other  sex.  The  wretched  urchin  who  converts 
his  .arms  and  legs  into  the  spokes  of  a  wheel,  and  thus 
runs  by  your  side,  presenting  at  last  his  bit  of  a  cap  for  the 
well-earned  halfpenny,  has  every  whit  as  much  interest  for 
me  as  that  stately  being  in  a  spotless  frock-coat  and 
double-breasted  white  waistcoat — Lord  Charles  Starche,  I 
mean — who  is  stalking  from  Boodles'  to  Brookes',  and 
thinks  that  he  does  the  pavement  a  great  honour  by  the 
pressure  of  his  perfect  boot. 

Then  in  the  road,  though  we  are  too  recherche  for  omni- 
buses, we  have  a  graduated  scale  of  vehicles,  from  the 
four-wheeled  cab  up  to  the  yellow  chariot,  in  which  Dowager 
Lady  Septuagene  is  huddled  up,  while  two  splendid  Mer- 
curies balance  themselves  behind.  There  are  men  of  many 
classes  in  hansoms,  broughams,  cabriolets,  and  curricles,  and 
ladies  passing  to  St.  James'  in  barouches  and  chariots. 

What  I  see,  indeed,  is  what  any  one  may  see  in  the 
streets  of  London,  but  I  see  it  all  calmly ;  and  having  nothing 


14 


PREFACE. 


else  to  do,  I  observe  in  these  ordinary  outlines  details 
which  would  escape  many  others.  Indeed,  I  have  arrived 
at  that  perfection  of  observation,  that  at  one  glance  I  can 
fix  the  class  to  which  a  passer-by  belongs,  and  at  a  second 
can  tell  you  whether  he  or  she  is  an  ornament  or  a  dis- 
grace to  it. 

I  must  not  tell  you  much  of  what  I  see  and  hear  when 
I  turn  round.  My  club  was  once  one  of  the  best  in  Lon- 
don, but  I  regret  to  say  it  has  sadly  deteriorated,  so  much 
so  that  when  I  have  finished  my  studies  I  shall  have  to 
seek  another  window  elsewhere.  A  number  of  men  have 
crept  into  it  somehow  who  ought  not  to  be  there.  For 
instance  there  is  Glanderson,  who,  though  he  belongs  to  a 
good  and  old  family,  is  nothing  more  or  less  than  a  horse- 
dealer.  He  vacillates  between  this  and  TattersalTs.  He 
comes  in  from  horses,  and  he  goes  out  to  horses.  I 
need  not  add  that  he  eats,  drinks,  dresses,  and  in  short 
lives  by  horses.  Now  a  horse-dealer  may  be  an  excellent 
man,  but  if  Ipe  thinks  nothing  but  horses,  he  cannot  be 
good  society.  Glanderson  thinks  horses.  If  there  is  a 
rumour  of  war  he  has  nothing  to  say  about  it,  except  that 
horse-flesh  will  rise  in  price.  If  there  is  to  be  a  great 
political  movement  in  a  day  or  two,  he  only  laments  that 
it  will  interfere  with  the  "  Two  Thousand." 

Then  again  there  is  Trickington,  who  is  simply  a  card- 
sharper.  It  is  no  matter  that  his  uncle  is  an  earl,  and  his 
brother  a  Member ;  Trickington  would  be  sent  to  the  tread- 
mill if  he  practised  in  a  railway  carriage  what  he  does  here. 
If  these  men  were  away  I  should  not  complain  of  young 
Moulder,  whose  father  made  a  fortune  by  patent  candles  ; 
for  Moulder  has  been  to  Eton  and  Cambridge,  and  is  at 
least  modest. 


PREFACE. 


15 


I  am  an  old  bachelor,  and  have  passed  a  varied  life.  I 
have  seen  and  mixed  at  different  times  in  many  grades  of 
society.  I  have  seen  hundreds  of  vulgar,  and  thousands  of 
ill-bred  people.  I  have  lived  in  the  unenviable  atmosphere 
of  foreign  courts,  and  in  the  narrow  circles  of  country 
villages.  As  I  have  sought  for  good  rather  than  high 
society,  I  have  freely  disregarded  position,  and  entered 
where  I  thought  I  might  find  it.  I  have  often  been  driven 
back  by  disgust  and  disappointment,  but  sometimes  gone 
to  laugh  and  stayed  to  enjoy.  With  this  experience  I  sat 
down  in  my  club-window,  and  ruminated  on  men  and 
manners,  classes  and  company,  society  and  solecisms.  In 
watching  from  my  club-window,  I  have  asked  myself, 
"  What  makes  that  man  a  gentleman,  and  the  other  who  is 
passing  him  a  snob  V*  and  I  have  passed  on  to  theorize  on 
good-breeding. 

Confess,  then,  that  it  is  magnanimous  in  me  to  submit 
the  result  of  my  long  cogitations  to  the  critical  eye  of  the 
public.  I  have  a  fancy  that  any  one  might  be  a  gentleman 
if  he  could  watch  himself,  as  I  watch  him  from  my  club- 
window.  I  have  often  longed  to  cry  out  to  a  man  :  "  In 
the  name  of  good  taste,  do  give  up  that  habit,  take  off  that 
coat,  or  alter  that  walk."  I  have  often  longed  to  turn 
Turveydrop,  and  lecture  these  people  on  their  manners. 
It  is  positively  painful  to  me  to  see  a  man  who  aspires  to 
the  name  and  position  of  "  gentleman,"  going  so  very  bad 
a  way  to  become  one.  I  feel  convinced  that  if  everybody 
was  well-bred,  this  world  would  be  far  better  and  far 
happier.  But  as  I  could  not  cry  across  the  street  all  day 
long,  and  should  perhaps  do  little  good  if  I  were  to  do  so, 
I  have  had  recourse  to  the  printer.  But  I  had  not  sat 
down  to  my  foolscap  when  a  thought  of  horror  rose  before 


16 


PREFACE. 


my  mind.  If  I,  a  man,  were  rash  enough  to  discourse  to 
Crinoline,  what  a  hail  of  scornful  words  should  I  bring 
down  on  my  head  !  I  therefore  bethought  me  of  a  derice, 
and  rushing  off  laid  all  my  plan  before  a  lady,  of  whose 
judgment  in  these  matters  I  had  the  highest  opinion,  and 
besought  her  to  assist  me.  To  this  excellent  and  charming 
person  I  have  now  the  pleasure  to  introduce  you,  that  she 
may  speak  for  herself  as  to  the  share  she  has  taken  in  this 
work.  If  this  little  book  should  really  improve  you,  my 
dear  reader,  I  beg  you  to  take  an  early  opportunity  of 
walking,  riding,  or  driving  down  this  street,  and  you  will 
soon  see  from  my  look  and  smile  how  great  is  the  satisfac- 
tion of 

The  Man  in  the  Club-Window. 


THE  LADY'S  PREFACE. 


iose  suggestions  which  apply  peculiarly  to  the  gentler 
rtion  of  the  community  differ,  in  many  details,  from  the 
vice  and  rules  necessary  to  be  impressed  upon  the  Lords 
Creation. 

"  The  Habits  of  Good  Society,"  as  referring  to  ladies, 
3  here,  therefore,  treated  by  "  one  of  themselves." 
It  is  true  that  certain  maxims  of  politeness,  and  regula- 
ns  which  are  thought  to  refine  and  improve  the  manners 

good  society,  concern  both  sexes  equally.  There  are, 
pertheless,  many  niceties  in  conduct,  variations  in  habits, 
i  delicacies  of  feeling  so  peculiarly  feminine,  that  the 
diest  pen  of  the  most  observant  bachelor,  how  alive 
iver  he  may  be  to  all  that  should  form  perfection  in  the 
:  whom  he  adores  in  dim  perspective,  can  scarcely  com- 
ss.  Even  the  carefully- turned  sentences  of  an  experienced 
lower  would  not  comprise  those  details  with  which  a  lady 
familiar ;  whilst  a  married  man  might  be  apt  to  make 

model  wife  the  standard  of  deportment,  and  thus  to  copy 
i  style  of  manners  alone. 

Men  may  discriminate  and  criticise,  but  woman  can  alone 
Druct  woman  in  her  every- day  habits  and  conduct,  as, 

trust,  may  be  demonstrated  in  the  course  of  the  follow- 

recommendations  from 

A  Matkon. 


c 


THE  HABITS  OF  GOOD  SOCIETY. 


THOUGHTS  ON  SOCIETY, 
AND  THE  SPIEIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

A  sermon  and  a  book  of  etiquette  have  been  taken  as 
the  antipodes  of  literature.  Most  erroneously  !  The  one  is 
a  necessary  appendix  to  the  other ;  and  the  missionary  of 
the  South  Sea  Islands  would  tell  you  that  it  is  useless  to 
teach  the  savage  religion  without  the  addition  of  a  few 
rules  of  courtesy.  On  manners,  refinement,  rules  of  good 
breeding,  and  even  the  forms  of  etiquette,  we  are  for  ever 
talking,  judging  our  neighbours  severely  by  the  breach  of 
traditionary  and  unwritten  laws,  and  choosing  our  society 
and  even  our  friends  by  the  touchstone  of  courtesy.  We  are 
taught  manners  before  religion  ;  our  nurses  and  our  parents 
preach  their  lay  sermons  upon  them  long  before  they  open  for 
us  the  Bible  and  the  Catechism  ;  our  dominies  flog  into  us 
Greek  verbs  and  English  behaviour  with  the  same  cane ; 
and  Eton  and  Oxford  declare  with  pride,  that  however 
little  they  may  teach  their  frequenters,  they  at  least  turn 
them  out  gentlemen.  Nay,  we  keep  a  grand  state  official, 
with  a  high  salary,  for  no  other  purposes  than  to  preserve 
the  formal  etiquette  of  the  Court,  and  to  issue  from  time 
to  time  a  series  of  occasional  services  in  which  the  minutest 
19 


20 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


laws  of  courtly  behaviour  are  codified  with  majestic  so- 
lemnity. 

Yet  with  all  this  and  much  more  deference  which  we 
show  now  to  manners  in  general,  now  to  the  arbitrary  laws 
of  etiquette  which  seem  to  have  no  object  but  exclusiveness, 
we  are  always  ready  to  raise  a  titter  at  the  attempt  to 
reduce  the  former  to  a  system,  or  codify  the  latter  for  the 
sake  of  convenience.  The  polished  affect  to  despise  the 
book  of  etiquette  as  unnecessary,  forgetting  that,  in  the 
present  day,  the  circles  of  good  society  are  growing  wider 
and  wider,  admitting  repeatedly,  and  more  than  ever,  men 
who  have  risen  from  the  cottage  or  the  workshop,  and  have 
had  neither  their  training  nor  their  experience.  What  if 
railway  kings  and  mushroom  millionaires  had  studied  their 
grammars  and  manner-books  in  the  respites  from  business, 
would  the  noble  lords,  who,  with  their  wives  and  daughters, 
condescended,  nay,  were  proud,  to  dine  with  the  quondam 
shop -boy  and  mechanic,  have  thus  been  sneered  at  by  the 
middle  classes  for  a  worship  of  gold,  which  could  induce 
them  to  put  up  with  gross  vulgarity,  and  for  a  respect  for 
success  which  could  allow  the  greatest  sticklers  for  etiquette 
to  endure  its  repeated  neglect  1  Surely  it  is  in  the  interest 
of  future  premiers  and  noble  members  of  council,  that  J ohn 
Smith  should  know  how  to  behave  before  they  visit  him  ; 
and  how  can  he  possibly  learn  it  without  either  a  tutor,  a 
book,  or  experience  in  society  ? 

The  first  is  undoubtedly  the  best  medium ;  and  we 
constantly  find  the  sons  of  mannerless  millionaires  tutored 
into  the  habits  of  good  society,  but  at  the  same  time  it  is 
a  course  which  demands  youth,  time,  and  the  absence  of 
business  occupations  ;  but  everybody,  at  first  sight,  agrees 
that  experience  in  society  is  the  only  good  way  to  acquire 


THE  CHAPLAIN  AND  THE  NUNCIO. 


21 


the  polish  it  demands.  True,  maybe  ;  but  if  it  demands 
that  polish  in  you,  how  will  it  take  you  without  it  1  How 
can  you  obtain  the  entree  into  good  society,  when,  on  the 
very  threshold,  you  are  found  deficient  in  its  first  rules  % 
How,  if  you  succeed  in  pushing  your  way  into  sets  which  you 
believe  to  constitute  good  society,  can  you  be  sure  that  they 
will  tolerate  you  there  till  you  have  learned  your  lesson, 
which  is  not  one  to  be  known  in  a  day  1  Your  failure,  indeed, 
may  be  painful,  and  end  in  your  ejectment  for  ever  from 
the  circles  you  have  taken  so  much  trouble  to  press  into. 

I  remember  an  instance  of  such  a  failure  which  occurred 
many  years  ago  in  a  distant  European  capital.  The  Eng- 
lish residents  had  long  been  without  a  chaplain,  and  the 
arrival  of  an  English  clergyman  was  hailed  with  such  en- 
thusiasm that  a  deputation  at  once  attended  on  him  and 
offered  him  the  post,  which  he  accepted.  We  soon  found 
that  our  course  was  a  mistaken  one.  Slovenly  in  his  dress, 
dirty  in  his  habits,  and  quite  ignorant  of  the  commonest 
rules  of  politeness,  our  new  chaplain  would  have  brought 
little  credit  to  the  English  hierarchy  even  had  his  manners 
been  retiring  and  unobtrusive.  They  were  precisely  the 
reverse.  By  dint  of  cringing,  flattery,  and  a  readiness  to 
serve  in  no  matter  what  undertaking,  he  pushed  himself, 
by  virtue  of  his  new  position,  into  some  of  the  highest 
circles.  One  evening  it  happened  that  the  new  chaplain 
and  the  Pope's  nuncio  were  both  at  the  same  evening  party. 
The  pontifical  legate  went  out  but  little,  and  the  lady  of 
the  house  had  used  great  exertions  to  procure  his  presence. 
The  contrast  between  the  representatives  of  the  two  Churches 
was  trying  for  us.  The  cardinal,  grave,  dignified,  and  courtly, 
received  the  advances  of  those  who  were  introduced  to  him 
as  his  due.    The  chaplain,  in  a  frayed  and  dirty  shirt,  with 


22  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

holes  in  his  boots  and  ill-combed  hair,  was  sneaking  up  to 
the  grandees  and  doing  his  best  to  gain  their  attention  by- 
smiles  and  flattery.  He  had  heard  somewhere  that  no  in- 
troductions were  needed  In  Continental  salons,  and  you  can 
imagine  our  surprise  when  we  saw  him  slide  sideways  up 
to  the  red-stockinged  nuncio,  tap  him  familiarly  on  the 
shoulder,  and  with  a  full  grin  exclaim,  "  Well,  my  Lord, 
how  did  you  leave  the  Pope1?"  The  cardinal  bowed  and 
smiled,  but  could  not  conceal  his  astonishment.  The  fa- 
miliarity was  not  indeed  a  crime,  but  it  proved  that  the 
offender  was  not  fit  for  the  society  into  which  he  had 
pushed  himself ;  and  the  legate,  glad  to  have  a  story  against 
the  Protestants,  made  the  most  of  it,  and  repeated  it  until 
the  new  chaplain  found  his  entree  to  the  drawing-rooms  of 
the  great  was  generally  cancelled. 

Useful  or  not  useful,  it  would  seem  that  codes  of  manners 
are  thought  ridiculous.  If  the  farce-writer  wants  to  intro- 
duce a  thoroughly  credulous  country  girl,  he  makes  her 
carry  a  little  book  of  etiquette  under  her  fan  into  the  ball- 
room-; and  if  the  heavy-headed  essayists  of  a  Quarterly 
want  a  light  subject  to  relieve  the  tedium  of  their  trimes- 
trial  lucubrations,  it  is  almost  sure  to  be  the  vade  mecums 
of  etiquette  which  come  in  for  their  satire.  Poor  indeed, 
and  reduced  in  honour  as  well  as  capital,  must  be  the  man 
of  letters,  they  tell  you,  who  will  condescend  to  write  on 
the  angle  of  a  bow,  or  the  punctilio  of  an  insult  ;  forgetting 
that  these  are  but  some  of  the  details  which  go  to  make  an 
important  whole,  and  that  we  might  as  honestly  sneer  at 
the  antiquarian  who  revels  in  a  dirty  coin  of  the  size  of  a 
farthing,  or  the  geologist  who  fills  his  pockets  with  chips  of 
ugly  stone.  However,  the  sneer  is  raised,  and  it  is  our  duty 
to  speak  of  it. 


THE  HIGHEST  AUTHORITIES  ON  THE  SUBJECT.  23 

There  remain,  then,  three  reasons  for  holding  works  of 
this  sort  in  disrepute  :  either  manners  themselves  are  con- 
temptible, or  they  are  not  a  subject  worthy  of  the  consider- 
ation of  the  wise  and  great ;  or  the  books  of  etiquette 
themselves  are  ridiculous  in  their  treatment  of  the  subject. 

The  value  of  manners  is  to  be  the  main  theme  of  this 
introduction  ;  as  regards  their  value  as  a  subject,  I  can  only 
point  to  those  who  have  discoursed  or  written  upon  them, 
and  I  think  it  may  be  affirmed  that  few  moral  teachers  have 
not  touched  on  the  kindred  subject.  Indeed  the  true  spirit 
of  good  manners  is  so  nearly  allied  to  that  of  good  morals, 
that  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  avoid  doing  so.  Our  Saviour 
himself  has  taught  us  that  modesty  is  the  true  spirit  of 
decent  behaviour,  and  was  not  ashamed  to  notice  and  rebuke 
the  forward  manners  of  his  fellow-guests  in  taking  the  upper 
seats  at  banquets,  while  he  has  chosen  the  etiquettes  of 
marriage  as  illustrations  in  several  of  his  parables.  Even  in 
speaking  of  the  scrupulous  habits  of  the  Pharisees,  he  did 
not  condemn  their  cleanliness  itself,  but  the  folly  which 
attached  so  much  value  to  mere  form.  He  conformed  him- 
self to  those  habits,  and  in  the  washing  of  feet  at  meals, 
drew  a  practical  lesson  of  beautiful  humility.  His  greatest 
follower  has  left  us  many  injunctions  to  gentleness  and 
courteousness  of  manner,  and  fine  passages  on  women's  dress, 
which  should  be  painted  over  every  lady's  toilet-table  in  the 
kingdom. 

As  to  the  philosophers,  who  are  anything  but  men  of  good 
manners  themselves,  there  are  few  who  have  not  taught 
behaviour  more  or  less.  To  say  nothing  of  the  ugly  but 
agreeable  old  gentleman,  Socrates,  who  went  about  the  city 
asking  as  many  questions  as  a  counsel  for  the  defendant 
in  a  case  of  circumstantial  evidence,  we  have  his  pupil's 


24  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

pupil  Aristotle,  whose  ethics  the  Oxford  boys  are  taught  to 
look  upon  as  next  in  wisdom  to  the  Bible,  and  truer  than 
any  similar  work.  We  are  convinced  that  the  greater  part 
of  the  ethics  might  be  turned  into  a  "  Guide  to  the  Com- 
plete Gentleman."  In  fact  the  Stagyrite's  morals  are  social 
ones  j  the  morals  that  fit  a  man  to  shine  in  the  agora  and 
the  academy.  He  has  raised  the  peculiar  behaviour  of  the 
kglXos  K<iya$bs  dvrjp — alias  "  gentleman" — to  his  equals, 
betters,  and  inferiors,  into  one  of  the  cardinal  virtues,  and 
has  given  us,  besides,  several  chapters  on  wit  and  conversa- 
tion, intimacies,  and  the  proper  carriage  of  a  good  citizen 
in  society. 

But  to  look  nearer  home,  Lord  Bacon  himself  has  devoted 
an  essay  to  manners,  and  reminds  us  that  as  a  precious  stone 
must  be  of  very  high  value  to  do  without  a  setting,  a  man 
must  be  a  very  great  one  to  dispense  with  social  observances ; 
and  probably  Johnson  thought  himself  one  of  these  unset 
gems,  when  he  made  such  speeches  as,  "  Sir,  you're  a  fool 
or  at  Aberdeen,  "  Yes,  sir,  Scotland  is  what  I  expected  ;  I 
expected  a  savage  country,  and  savage  people,  and  I  have 
found  them." 

But  why  multiply  instances  1  If  we  look  to  the  satirists 
of  all  ages,  we  find  that  manners  as  well  as  morals  came 
under  their  lash,  and  many  taught  by  ridicule  what  we  do 
by  precept.  Horace,  the  Spectator,  and  Thackeray  expose 
the  vulgarities  and  affectations  of  society ;  and  the  finest  wit 
of  his  day,  Chesterfield,  is  the  patron  saint  of  the  writers 
on  Behaviour. 

We  have,  therefore,  no  lack  of  precedent ;  but  it  is  cer- 
tainly true  that  too  often  the  office  of  a  teacher  of  manners 
has  been  assumed  by  retired  Turveydrops,  and  genteel 
masters  of  ceremonies,  and  the  laugh  that  is  raised  at  their 


False  motives  for  politeness. 


25 


hints  on  propriety  is  not  always  without  excuse.  It  would 
be  very  bad  manners  in  me  to  criticise  the  works  of  former 
writers  on  this  subject,  and  thus  put  forward  my  own  as 
the  ne  plus  ultra  of  perfection.  I  confess,  indeed,  that  I 
can  never  aspire  to  the  delicacy  and  apparently  universal 
acquirements  of  some  of  these  genteel  persons.  If  I  can  tell 
you  how  to  entertain  your  guests,  I  cannot  furnish  a  list  of 
cartes  for  dinners,  like  the  author  of  the  Art  of  Dining.  If 
I  can  tell  you  how  to  dance  with  propriety,  I  must  despair 
of  describing  the  Terpsichorean  inventions  of  a  D'Egville  or 
a  Delplanque,  or  of  giving  directions  for  the  intricate  evo- 
lutions of  one  hundred  and  one  dances,  of  which  in  the 
present  day  not  a  dozen  are  ever  performed. 

I  may,  however,  be  permitted  to  point  out  that  too  many 
of  my  predecessors  have  acted  on  a  wrong  principle.  I 
have  before  me  at  least  a  dozen  books  treating  of  etiquette 
of  different  dates,  and  I  find  that  one  and  all,  including 
Chesterfield,  state  the  motive  for  politeness  to  be  either  the 
desire  to  shine,  or  the  wish  to  raise  one's-self  into  society 
supposed  to  be  better  than  one's  own.  One  of  the  best  begins 
by  defining  Etiquette  as  "a  shield  against  the  intrusion  of 
the  impertinent,  the  improper,  and  the  vulgar  another 
tells  us  that  the  circles  which  protect  themselves  with  this 
shield  must  be  the  object  of  our  attack,  and  that  a  know- 
ledge of  etiquette  will  secure  us  the  victory ;  others  of  higher 
character  confound  good  with  high  society,  and  as  a  matter 
of  course  declare  birth,  rank,  or  distinction  as  its  first  requi- 
sites. All  of  them  make  it  appear  that  the  cultivation  of 
manners  is  not  a  social  duty,  but  merely  a  means  to  the 
gratification  of  personal  vanity,  and  on  this  account  they 
must  all  appear  ridiculous  to  the  man  of  sense. 

Good  society  is  undoubtedly  a  most  desirable  accompa* 
D 


26 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


niment  of  the  business  of  life,  and  with  some  people  it  even 
takes  the  place  of  that  business  itself ;  but  if  the  reader 
imagines  that  he  is  to  put  his  book  of  etiquette  into  his 
pocket,  and,  quitting  his  old  friends  and  acquaintance  with 
disgust,  to  push  himself  into  sets  for  which  perhaps  his 
position  itself  does  not  qualify  him,  he  is  much  mistaken  as 
to  the  object  of  cultivating  the  habits  of  good  society.  His 
proper  objects  are  these  :  to  make  himself  better  in  every 
respect  than  he  is-;  to  render  himself  agreeable  to  every 
one  with  whom  he  has  to  do  ;  and  to  improve,  if  necessary, 
the  society  in  which  he  is  placed.  If  he  can  do  this,  he 
will  not  want  good  society  long.  It  is  in  the  power  of 
every  man  to  create  it  for  himself.  An  agreeable  and 
polished  person  attracts  like  light,  and  every  kind  of  society 
which  is  worth  entering  will  soon  and  easily  open  its  doors 
to  him,  and  be  glad  to  have  him  in  its  circle.  Exclusive- 
ness  is  often  a  proof  of  innate  vulgarity,  and  the  tests 
applied  by  the  exclusive  are  generally  position,  birth,  name, 
or  peculiarity,  rarely  indeed  individual  merit.  ;  Wherever 
these  limitations-  are  drawn,  you  may  be  confident  of  a 
deficiency  in  the  drawers.  My  Lady  A—,  who  will  have 
no  one  under  the  rank  of  baronet  at  her  house,  can  scarcely 
appreciate  the  wide  diffusion  of  wit  and  intelligence  among 
the  untitled.  Mr.  B — ,  who  invites  none  but  literary  men 
to  his,  must  be  incapable  of  enjoying  the  accomplishments 
and  general  knowledge  of  men  of  the  world.  And  then,  too, 
it  is  so  easy  to  be  exclusive,  if  you  are  content  to  be  dull. 
My  University  tailor  had  a  daughter,  whose  dower  he 
announced  as  £30,000,  and  he  gave  out  that  none  but  a 
gold-tassel  should  be  allowed  to  cultivate  her  acquaintance. 
But  the  young  noblemen  never  came,  and  the  damsel  piued 
for  a  couple  of  years.    The  father  widened  the  bounds,  and 


EXCLUSIVE  SETS. 


27 


gentlemen-commoners  were  admitted,  but  still  the  maiden 
was  unwooed.  In  another  three  years  the  suffrage  was 
extended  to  all  members  of  Christ  Church.  There  may- 
have  been  wooers  now,  but  no  winners.  Five  years  more 
and  the  maiden  still  sat  at  her  window  unclaimed.  For 
another  five  years  the  ninth  part  of  a  man  held  out  reso- 
lutely, but  by  that  time  youth  was  gone,  and  the  daughter 
so  long  a  prisoner  was  glad  to  accept  the  hand  of  an  aspir- 
ing cheesemonger. 

But  the  tailor's  vulgarity  was  no  greater  than  that  of  all 
exclusive  sets,  who  "  draw  the  line"  which  preserves  the 
purity  of  their  magic  circle,  with  a  measure  of  rank,  wealth, 
or  position,  rather  than  the  higher  recommendations  of 
agreeable  manners,  social  talents,  and  elevated  character. 
The  dulness  of  the  coteries  of  the  Faubourg  St.  Germain  is 
equalled  in  this  country  only  by  that  of  certain  sets  to  be 
found  in  most  watering-places.  A  decrepit  old  lady  or 
gentleman,  long  retired  from  fashionable  and  public  life,  is 
always  to  be  found  in  these  localities.  Surrounded  by  a 
small  knot  of  worshippers,  he  or  she  is  distinguished  by  a 
title,  a  faultless  wig,  and  a  great  love  of  whist,  and  the  play- 
ful sallies  of  "my  lord"  and  "my  lady"  are  hailed  as 
splendid  wit,  or  their  petulant  tempers  endured  with  affec- 
tionate submission.  How  much  Christianity  does  a  nook 
in  the  peerage  encourage  !  What  a  pity  there  is  not  a  retired 
nobleman  in  every  set  of  society,  to  put  our  forbearance  to 
a  perpetual  trial,  call  forth  our  broadest  charity,  and  train 
us  at  the  whist-table  to  lose  our  guineas,  and  not  our 
temper ! 

Exclusive  society,  whether  the  passport  for  admittance 
be  of  rank,  birth,  wealth,  fashion,  or  even  more  meritorious 
distinctions,  is  not  often  agreeable  society,  and  not  neces- 


28 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


sarily  good.  The  question  at  once  arises  :  What  is  good 
society?  and  we  proceed  to  answer  it,  beginning  with  an 
attempt  to  define  society  itself. 

When  the  ex-King  Ludwig  of  Bavaria  stops,  as  we  have 
seen  him  do,  to  exchange  a  hearty  word  with  a  crossing- 
sweeper,  one  of  a  class  which  the  misnamed  "  First  Gen- 
tleman of  Europe,"  while  returning  punctiliously  the  marks 
of  respect  shown  him  by  every  man  that  he  passed,  thought 
it  beneath  the  dignity  of  a  monarch  to  notice,  no  one  would 
think  of  impeaching  the  sovereign  of  a  love  of  low  society. 
If,  again,  a  country  gentleman  chats  with  his  gamekeeper 
as  they  come  from  the  fields  together,  he  will,  perhaps,  tell 
you  that  he  has  enjoyed  the  honest  fellow's  "  society,"  but 
it  will  be  in  the  tone  of  a  joke.  Not  so,  however,  the  candi- 
date for  the  borough,  who  begs  the  influential  haberdasher 
he  is  canvassing,  to  introduce  him  to  his  wife  and  daughters, 
whose  society  "he  is  most  anxious  to  cultivate."  He  is 
quite  aware  that  equality  is  the  first  essential  of  society,  and 
that  where  it  does  not  exist  in  reality,  it  must  do  so  in 
appearance. 

Nor  is  mere  equality  of  position  sufficient.  It  seems  to 
be  a  rule  in  the  intercourse  of  men,  that  the  employer 
should  rank  above  the  employed,  and  the  transaction  of 
business  suspends  equality  for  a  time.  There  is  no  society 
between  a  gentleman  and  his  solicitor  or  physician,  in  an 
official  visit,  and  though  both  hold  the  same  rank,  the  pro- 
fessional man  would  never,  unless  further  advances  were  made, 
presume  on  the  official  acquaintance  to  consider  himself  a 
member  of  his  patient's  or  client's  circle. 

Society  is,  therefore,  the  intercourse  of  persons  on  a  foot- 
ing of  equality,  real  or  apparent.  But  it  is  more  than  this. 
The  two  thoroughly  English  gentlemen  who,  travelling  for 


WHAT  IS  SOCIETY  1 


29 


two  hundred  miles  in  the  same  railway  carriage,  ensconce 
themselves  behind  their  newspapers  or  shilling  novels, 
exchanging  no  more  than  a  sentence  when  the  one  treads 
upon  the  other's  favourite  bunion,  cannot,  in  the  widest 
sense  of  the  phrase,  be  said  to  enjoy  each  other's  society. 
The  intercourse  must  be  both  active  and  friendly.  Man  is 
a  gregarious  animal ;  but  while  other  animals  herd  together, 
for  the  purpose  of  mutual  protection,  or  common  under- 
takings, men  appear  to  form  the  only  kind  who  assemble 
for  that  of  mutual  entertainment  and  improvement.  But 
in  society  properly  so  called,  this  entertainment  must 
address  the  higher  part  of  man.  Never  was  philosopher 
more  justly  put  down  for  narrowness  of  mind  than  Plato 
was  by  Diogenes.  The  polished  Athenian  had  the  rash- 
ness to  define  man  as  a  biped  without  feathers.  The  ill- 
mannered  but  sensible  philosopher  of  the  tub  plucked  a 
cock  and  labelled  it,  "  Plato's  Man/'  Man  is  not  wholly 
man  without  his  mind,  and  a  game  of  cricket  in  which  men 
assemble  for  mutual  entertainment  or  improvement  is  not 
society,  since  it  is  the  body  not  the  mind  which  is  brought 
into  action. 

Indeed  we  hear  people  talk  of  round  games  being  so- 
ciable, and  it  is  certain  that  in  most  of  those  which  are 
played  in  a  drawing-room,  the  mind  is  made  to  work  as  well 
as  the  fingers ;  but  while  such  games  undoubtedly  excite 
sociality  with  people  too  shy  or  too  stupid  to  talk,  and  be 
at  ease  without  their  assistance,  we  must  beware  of  con- 
founding them  with  sociability  itself.  The  mutual  enter- 
tainment of  the  mind  must  be  immediate  in  society.  In 
chess  and  even  in  whist,  the  mental  working  is  keen,  and 
the  action  is  decidedly  mutual,  if  we  may  not  rather  say, 
antagonistic,  but  no  one  would  think  of  saying  that  he  had 


30  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

enjoyed  Mr.  Morphy's  society,  "because  he  was  one  of 
his  eight  opponents  in  a  chess  tournament,  and  none  but 
doting  dowagers  would  presume  to  talk  of  the  *  society" 
of  the  whist-table.  The  intercourse  must  be  direct  from 
mind  to  mind. 

Social  intercourse  is,  in  fact,  the  consequence  of  a  neces- 
sity felt  by  men  and  women  for  new  channels  of  thought, 
and  new  impulses  of  feeling.  "We  read  books,  and  we  go 
to  the  play  for  the  very  same  purpose ;  but  that  which  consti- 
tutes the  superior  charm  of  society  over  these  relaxations  is 
its  variety  and  uncertainty.  The  guest  could  never  have 
sat  through  the  Barmecide's  feast,  if  he  had  not  expected 
that  each  succeeding  cover  would  reveal  a  dainty  entremets 
to  make  up  for  the  shadowy  character  of  the  joints  and 
Ivors  d'oeuvres,  and  not  even  an  old  maid  of  fifty  could  con- 
tinue to  attend  those  dreary  evening  parties  at  the  vicar's, 
or  those  solemn  dinners  at  the  hall,  if  she  did  not  look 
forward  to  meeting  some  new  guest,  or  at  least  having 
some  new  idea  struck  into  her. 

I  have  always  doubted  whether  Boswell  had  not  as  great 
mental  capacities  of  their  kind  as  Johnson.  It  requires 
either  a  profound  mind  or  a  cold  heart  to  feel  no  necessity 
for  social  intercourse.  Bozzy  had  not  the  latter.  Had  he 
the  former  ?  As  the  great  mind  can  content  itself  with  its 
own  reflections,  stimulated  at  most  by  the  printed  thoughts 
of  others,  so  it  carries  in  itself  its  power  of  varying  what  it 
takes  in,  and  scorns  to  look  for  variety  from  withoiit.  Most 
deep  thinkers  have  had  one  pet  book,  which  they  have  read, 
one  bosom-friend  whom  they  have  studied,  in  a  thousand 
different  lights  according  to  the  variety  which  their  own 
nervous  mind  would  suggest.  Had  Boswell  been  an  ordi- 
nary man,  would  he  not  have  wearied  of  the  Doctor's  perpe- 


MENTAL  INTERCOURSE  NECESSARY. 


31 


tual  sameness,  of  his  set  answers  and  anticipated  rebuffs  1 
Lovers  weary  of  one  another's  minds,  and  the  cleverest 
people  are  incapable  of  enduring  a  tete-<X-tete  for  three  weeks 
at  a  time,  and  was  Boswell  more  than  a  lover  % 

"  Lean  not  on  one  mind  constantly, 

Lest  where  one  stood  before,  two  fall. 
Something  God  hath  to  say  to  thee 
Worth  hearing  from  the  lips  of  all."* 

And  it  is  this  feeling  which  impels  men.  of  good  sense  and 
ordinary  minds  to  seek  acquaintance  as  well  as  friends, 
which  makes  me  happy  to  talk  sometimes  to  the  ploughman 
coming  from  the  field,  to  the  policeman  hanging  about  his 
beat,  even  to  the  thief  whose  hand  I  have  caught  in  my 
pocket.  Could  I  have  a  professional  pickpocket  in  my  grasp 
and  not  seize  the  rare  opportunity  of  discovering  what  view 
a  thief  takes  of  life,  of  right  and  wrong,  honour,  even  man- 
ners and  the  habits  of  good  society  1  You  may  be  sure  he 
has  something  to  tell  me  on  all  these  points,  and  for  a  while 
I  might  profit  from  even  his  society ;  though,  as  equality 
is  necessary,  I  should  for  the  time  have  to  let  myself  down 
to  his  level,  which  is  scarcely  desirable. 

I  have  said  that  there  are  some  minds,  universal  enough 
in  themselves  to  feel  no  need  of  society.  To  such,  solitude 
is  society— of  thought.  To  such  the  prison-cell  is  but  little 
trial.  Raleigh  was  as  great  in  the  Tower  as  out  of  it,  and 
Michael  Angelo  desired  only  to  sit  for  days  gazing  upon, 
ay,  and  communing,  with  the  grand  men  and  wondrous 
scenes  which  he  found  in  his  own  brain. 

Other  minds  again  are  content  with  a  little  society,  but 
it  is  the  weakest  class  that  can  never  do  without  it.   It  will 


*  Owen  Meredith. 


32  THE  SPIRIT  OE  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

not  be  difficult  to  show  that  the  wits  and  beaux  who  have 
lived  for  society  only,  were  men  whom  no  one  need  aspire 
to  rival. 

I  draw  this  distinction  in  order  that  hereafter  I  may 
speak  more  freely  of  conversation  in  general  society ;  but 
it  must  not  be  thought,  by  a  converse  conclusion,  that  every 
common  frequenter  of  society  is  but  a  poor-minded  being. 
Socrates  and  Shakspere,  who  lived  continually  with  their 
fellow-creatures,  would  not  thank  you  for  such  an  inference, 
and  the  cleverest  men  are  often  the  most  sociable ;  though, 
as  La  Rochefoucault  says,/"  In  conversation  confidence  has 
a  greater  share  than  wit.T 

Chesterfield  says,  "Tnere  are  two  sorts  of  good  com- 
pany j  one  which  is  called  the  beau-monde,  and  consists 
of  those  people  who  have  the  lead  in  courts,  and  in  the 
gay  part  of  life ;  the  other  consists  of  those  who  are  dis- 
tinguished by  some  peculiar  merit,  or  who  excel  in  some 
particular  and  valuable  art  or  science."  If  this  were  not 
the  opinion  of  my  patron  saint,  I  should  maintain  that  the 
writer  knew  not  what  good  company  was.  But  in  truth 
in  the  days  of  Philip  Dormer  Stanhope  there  was  little 
option  but  between  wealth,  rank,  and  fashion,  on  the  one 
hand,  and  wit  and  learning  on  the  other ;  and  his  Lordship 
cannot  be  blamed  for  writing  thus  in  the  beginning  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  when  the  middle  classes  had  not  learnt 
manners,  if  a  century  later  Mr.  Hayward,  who  undertakes 
to  write  down  books  of  etiquette,  tells  us  that  "rank, 
wealth,  and  distinction  of  some  sort,"  are  the  elements  of 
success  in  society. 

If  the  opinion  of  a  man  who  for  twelve  years  laboured 
to  make  a  graceful  gentleman  of  his  son,  and,  though  he 
failed  to  do  so,  certainly  thought  and  wrote  more  on  the 


BAD  MORALS  AND  BAD  SOCIETY. 


33 


manners  of  good  society  than  any  man  before  and  since,  is 
not  to  be  taken  as  a  maxim,  I  must  be  allowed  some  hesi- 
tation in  putting  forward  a  definition.  As  Chesterfield 
himself  says,  bad  company  is  much  more  easily  defined  than 
good.  Let  us  begin  with  the  bad,  then,  and  see  to  what  it 
brings  us. 

Beau  Brummell  broke  off  an  engagement  with  a  young 
lady  because  he  once  saw  her  eat  cabbage.  "  Over-nice 
people,"  says  Dean  Swift,  "  have  sometimes  very  nasty 
ideas."  But  George  the  Less  evidently  thought  the  young 
lady  in  question  was  very  bad  company.  To  define  exactly 
where  bad  manners  begin  is  not  easy,  but  there  is  no  doubt 
that  no  society  is  good  in  which  they  are  found  ;  and  this 
book  will  have  been  written  in  vain,  if  the  reader  after 
studying  it  is  unable  to  distinguish  between  bad  and  good 
behaviour.  In  the  present  day  neither  Brummell  nor  his 
"  fat  friend,"  the  "  greatest  gentleman  in  Europe,"  would 
be  tolerated  in  good  society.  The  code  of  morals  is  clearly 
written,  whatever  may  be  the  traditionary  code  of  manners, 
and  we  may  at  once  lay  down  as  a  rule,  that  where  morals 
are  openly  bad,  society  must  be  bad.  The  badness  of 
morals  is  soon  detected.  We  may  indeed  meet  in  a  London 
ball-room  a  score  of  young  men,  whose  manners  are  as 
spotless  as  their  shirt-fronts,  and  fail  to  discover  from 
their  carriage  and  conversation  that  one  requires  assistance 
to  undress  every  third  night,  another  is  supported  by 
Hebrews  in  gambling  away  his  reversionary  property,  and 
a  third,  without  Shelley's  genius,  shares  his  opinions  as 
to  the  uselessness  of  matrimonial  vows.  But  let  us  pursue 
their  acquaintance,  and  we  shall  soon  learn  from  the  tone 
of  their  conversation  what  is  the  tenor  of  their  lives. 

Bad  society,  then,  may  be  divided  into  three  classes  : 
E 


34  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

1.  That  in  which  both  morals  and  manners  are  bad ; 

2.  That  in  which  the  manners  are  bad,  be  the  morals 
what  they  will ;  3.  That  in  which  the  manners  appear  to 
be  good,  but  the  morals  are  detestable.  The  first  is  low, 
the  second  vulgar,  the  third  dangerous  society. 

Few  people  but  undergraduates,  young  ensigns,  and  as- 
piring clerks  and  shop-boys,  will  need  to  be  warned  against 
low  society.  Where  vice  wears  no  veil,  and  decency  for 
ever  blushes,  the  man  of  any  self-respect,  to  say  nothing  of 
taste  and  education,  will  speedily  be  disgusted.  The  first 
proof  of  lowness  is  seen  at  once  in  undue  familiarity.  If 
there  are  women  in  company,  you  will  at  once  discover 
their  character  from  the  manner  in  which  they  allow  them- 
selves to  be  addressed  ;  but  if  not,  you  will  doubtless  ere 
long  be  yourself  subjected  to  a  freedom  of  treatment,  which 
you  will  readily  distinguish  from  ease  of  manner,  and  know 
to  be  beyond  the  proper  limits.  Familiarity,  on  first  intro- 
duction, is  always  of  bad  style,  often  even  vulgar,  and, 
when  used  by  the  openly  immoral,  is  low  and  revolting. 
A  man  of  self-  respect  will  not  be  pleased  with  it  even  when 
it  comes  from  the  most  respectable,  or  his  superiors ;  he 
will  despise  it  in  his  equals,  and  will  take  it  almost  as  an 
insult  from  those  who  do  not  respect  themselves.  If  Brum- 
mell  really  had  the  impudence  to  say  to  his  patron  prince, 
"  "Wales,  ring  the  bell !"  we  cannot  blame  the  corpulent 
George  for  ordering  the  Beau's  carriage  when  the  servant 
appeared.  We  can  only  wonder  that  he  did  not  take  warn- 
ing by  his  favourite's  presumption  to  separate  himself  from 
the  rest  of  his  debauched  hangers-on,  when  he  found  that 
respect  for  the  Prince  was  swamped  in  contempt  for  the 
profligate. 

This  is  a  good  opportunity  for  introducing  a  few  words 


INSTANCES  OP  FAMILIAKITY. 


35 


on  the  subject  of  familiarity,  which,  writing  as  an  English- 
man, we  may  at  once  lay  down  as  incompatible  with  good 
society.  "  You  are  a  race  of  pokers  !"  say  the  French. 
"  You  are  a  race  of  puppies  !"  replies  the  inassailable  Eng- 
lishman ;  and  certainly  there  is  nothing  more  sublimely 
ridiculous  than  the  British  lion  shaking  his  mane  and  mut- 
tering a  growl  when  the  Continental  poodle  asks  him,  in  a 
friendly  manner,  to  shake  his  paw.  Dignity  has  its  limits 
as  well  as  ease,  and  dignity  is  extravagant  in  Spain  and 
often  melodramatic  in  England.  Charles  I.  never  laughed, 
and  his  cotemporary,  Philip  of  Spain,  never  smiled.  But 
it  must  not  be  supposed  that  the  English  have  always  been 
as  dignified  as  the  modern  towers  bristling  with  cannon, 
and  bearing  the  motto,  "  Noli  me  tangere,"  who  are  seen 
moving  in  Pall-Mail  in  the  afternoon.  Stiffness  perhaps 
came  in  with  Brummell's  starched  cravat,  a  yard  in  height, 
which  took  him  a  quarter  of  an  hour  to  crease  down  to 
that  of  his  neck.  In  the  reigns  of  the  Tudors,  familiarity 
was  the  order  of  the  day  at  the  Court.  There  was  nothing 
shocking  in  Bluff  Harry  stretching  his  huge  gouty  leg  upon 
Catherine  Parr's  lap  ;  and  Queen  Elizabeth  thought  herself 
only  witty  when  to  Sir  Eoger  Williams,  presenting  a  petition 
which  she  disliked,  she  exclaimed,  "  Williams,  how  your 
boots  stink  !"  "  Tut,  madame,"  replied  the  Welshman, 
"  it  is  my  suit,  not  my  boots  which  stink."  In  Ben  Jon- 
son's  day  it  was  the  height  of  gallantry  to  clmck  a  lady 
under  the  chin,  and  make  a  not  very  refined  compliment  to 
her  rosy  lips.  Even  the  cavaliers  of  Charles'  court  had  a 
freedom  of  speech  and  manner  which  disgusted  the  Puri- 
tans ;  and,  if  Milton's  report  be  true,  the  sovereign  that 
never  laughed  saw  no  harm  in  making  indelicate  remarks 
before,  if  not  to,  the  Queen's  ladies.    But  the  most  curious 


30  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSEKVANCES. 

instances  of  familiarity,  mistaken  for  wit,  are  to  be  found 
in  the  reigns  of  William  m.  and  Anne.  When  Bath  was 
the  most  fashionable  spot  in  the  kingdom,  and  Beau  Nash 
the  most  fashionable  man  in  Bath,  the  following  speeches, 
interlarded  with  oaths,  were  his  most  fashionable  mots : — 

A  lady  afflicted  with  a  curvature  of  the  spine,  once  told 
him  that  she  had  that  day  come  straight  from  London. 
"  Straight,  madame  !"  replied  the  magnificent  master  of  the 
ceremonies,  "  then  you've  been  horribly  warped  by  the  way." 
When,  on  another  occasion,  a  gentleman  appeared  at  an 
assembly  in  boots,  which  Nash  had  interdicted,  he  called 
out  to  him,  "  Hollo  !  Hogs  Norton,  haven't  you  forgot  to 
bring  your  horse  ?"  He  was  well  put  down,  however,  by  a 
young  lady,  whom  he  once  met  walking  with  a  spaniel  be- 
hind her.  "  Please,  madame,"  asked  the  Beau,  "  can  you 
tell  me  the  name  of  Tobit's  dog  ?"  "  Yes,  sir,"  answered 
the  damsel ;  "his  name  is  Nash,  and  a  very  impudent  dog 
he  is,  too." 

Familiarity  arises  either  from  an  excess  of  friendliness  or 
a  deficiency  of  respect.  The  latter  is  never  pardonable. 
We  cannot  consider  that  man  well-bred  who  shows  no 
respect  for  the  position,  feelings,  or  even  prejudices  of 
others.  The  youth  who  addresses  his  father  as  "  governor," 
or  "  come  now,  paymaster,"  is  almost  as  blamable  as  the 
man  who  stares  at  my  club-foot,  or,  because  I  have  a  very 
dark  complexion,  asks  me  at  first  sight  when  I  left  India. 
Still  more  reprehensible  should  I  be  if  I  exclaimed  to  a 
stout  lady,  "  How  warm  you  look !"  asked  Mr.  Spurgeon 
if  he  had  been  to  many  balls  lately ;  inquired  after  the 
wife  and  family  of  a  Romish  priest,  or  begged  the  Dean  of 
Carlisle  to  tell  me  the  odds  on  the  Derby. 

Worse,  again,  is  the  familiarity  which  arises  from  na- 


KESPECT  TO  THE  SEX. 


37 


tural  coarseness,  and  which  becomes  most  prominent  in  the 
society  of  elderly  men,  or  where  ladies  are  present.  The 
demeanour  of  youth  to  age  should  always  be  respectful ; 
that  of  man  to  woman  should  approach  even  reverence. 

"  To  thee  be  all  men  heroes  ;  every  race 
Noble ;  all  women  virgins ;  and  each  place 
A  temple." 

And  certainly  it  is  better  and  more  comfortable  to  believe 
in  the  worth  of  all,  than  by  contempt  and  boldness  to  leave 
the  impression  of  impudence  and  impropriety.  It  should 
be  the  boast  of  every  man  that  he  had  never  put  modesty 
to  the  blush,  nor  encouraged  immodesty  to  remove  Iter 
mask.  But  we  fear  there  is  far  too  little  chivalry  in  the 
present  day.  If  young  men  do  not  chuck  their  partners 
under  the  chin,  they  are  often  guilty  of  pressing  their  hands 
when  the  dance  affords  an  opportunity.  There  is  a  calm  dig- 
nity with  which  to  show  that  the  offence  has  been  noticed,  but 
if  a  lady  condescends  to  reprove  it  in  words,  she  forces  the 
culprit  to  defend  himself,  and  often  ends  by  making  the 
breach  worse.  On  the  other  hand,  let  a  woman  once  over- 
look the  slightest  familiarity,  and  fail  to  show  her  surprise 
in  her  manner,  and  she  can  never  be  certain  that  it  will  not 
be  repeated.  There  are  few  actions  so  atrociously  familiar 
as  a  wink.  I  would  rather  kiss  a  lady  outright  than  wink 
or  leer  at  her,  for  that  silent  movement  seems  to  imply  a 
secret  understanding  which  may  be  interpreted  in  any  way 
you  like.  Even  between  men  a  wink  should  be  avoided, 
however  intimate  the  terms  between  you,  since  it  seems  to 
keep  the  rest  of  the  company  in  the  dark,  and  is  perhaps 
worse  than  whispering. 

We  often  hear  people  complain  of  the  necessity  of 
"  company  manners."    As  a  general  rule  such  people  must 


38  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

be  by  nature  coarse.  A  well-bred  man  has  always  the  same 
manners  at  home  and  in  society,  and  what  is  bad  in  the 
former,  is  only  worse  in  the  latter.  It  can  never  be  par- 
donable to  swagger  and  lounge,  nor  to  carry  into  even  the 
family  circle  the  actions  proper  to  the  dressing-room.  Even 
where  familiarity  has  nothing  shocking  in  itself,  it  attacks 
the  respect  due  to  the  society  of  others,  whoever  they  may 
be,  and  presents  the  danger  of  a  further  breach  of  it.  From 
familiarity  to  indecency  is  but  one  step.  Thus  no  part  of 
the  dress,  not  a  shoe-string  even,  should  be  arranged  in  the 
presence  of  ladies.  The  Hindus,  remarkable  for  the  delicacy 
of  their  manners,  would  not  allow  kissing,  scratching,  pinch- 
ing, or  lying  down  to  be  represented  on  the  stage,  and  at 
least  the  last  three  should  never  be  permitted  in  a  mixed 
society  of  men  and  women.  There  are  attitudes  too,  which 
are  a  transition  from  ease  to  familiarity,  and  should  never 
be  indulged.  A  man  may  cross  his  legs  in  the  present  day, 
but  should  never  stretch  them  apart.  To  wipe  the  forehead, 
gape,  yawn,  and  so  forth,  are  only  a  shade  less  obnoxious 
than  the  American  habit  of  expectoration.  I  shall  have 
more  to  say  on  this  subject,  and  must  now  pass  to  another. 

Familiarity  must  be  condemned  or  pardoned  according  to 
the  motive  that  suggests  it.  Not  unfrequently  it  arises 
from  over-friendliness  or  even  shyness,  and  must  then  be 
gently  and  kindly  repressed.  As  for  shyness,  which  is  par 
excellence  the  great  obstacle  to  ease  in  English  society,  I,  for 
my  part,  think  it  infinitely  preferable  to  forwardness.  It 
calls  forth  our  kindest  and  best  feelings,  utterly  disarms  the 
least  considerate  of  us,  and  somewhat  endears  us  to  the 
sufferer.  Yet  so  completely  is  it  at  variance  with  the  spirit 
of  society,  that  in  France  it  is  looked  on  as  a  sin ;  and 
children  are  brought  forward  as  much  as  possible  that  they 


SHYNESS. 


39 


may  early  get  rid  of  it,  the  consequence  of  which  is,  that  a 
French  boy  from  his  college  is  one  of  the  most  obnoxious  of 
his  race,  while  you  cannot  help  feeling  that  the  extreme 
diffidence  of  the  debutante  is  merely  assumed  in  obedience 
to  chere  maman.  Give  me  a  boy  that  blushes  when  you 
speak  to  him,  and  a  girl,  under  seventeen,  who  looks  down 
because  she  dares  not  look  up.  On  the  other  hand,  shyness 
is -trying  and  troublesome  in  young  people  of  full  age,  though 
a  little  of  it  is  always  becoming  on  first  acquaintance ;  while 
in  middle-aged  people  it  is  scarcely  pardonable. 

To  the  young,  therefore,  who  are  entering  into  society,  I 
would  say,  Never  be  ashamed  of  your  shyness,  since,  however 
painful  it  may  be  to  you,  it  is  far  less  disagreeable  to  others 
than  the  attempt  to  conceal  it  by  familiarity. 

The  only  way  to  treat  familiarity  arising  from  shyness  is 
not  to  notice  it,  but  encourage  the  offender  till  you  have 
given  him  or  her  confidence.  It  is  a  kindness  as  much  to 
yourself  as  to  the  sufferer  from  shyness,  to  introduce  merry 
subjects,  to  let  fly  a  little  friendly  badinage  at  him,  until 
he  thinks  that  you  are  deceived  by  his  assumed  manner, 
and,  no  longer  afraid  of  being  thought  nervous,  really  gets 
rid  of  the  chief  cause  of  that  feeling. 

When  Brummell  was  asked  by  a  lady  whom  he  scarcely 
knew,  to  come  and  "  take  tea"  with  her,  the  Beau  replied, 
"  Madame,  you  take  a  walk,  and  you  take  a  liberty,  but 
you  drink  tea."  It  was  only  one  of  those  many  speeches 
of  the  Beau's,  which  prove  that  a  man  may  devote  his  whole 
life  to  the  study  of  manner  and  appearance,  and,  without 
good  feeling  to  back  them  up,  not  be  a  gentleman.  The 
lady  undoubtedly  did  take  a  liberty,  but  the  would-be  gen- 
tleman took  a  greater  in  correcting  her  idiom.  The  lady 
erred  from  a  silly  admiration  of  the  ex-model  of  fashion ; 


40 


THE  SPIRIT  OP  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


the  broken  bean  erred  from  excessive  conceit,  and  an  utter 
want  of  heart.  Let  the  reader  judge  between  the  two.  If 
the  object  of  politeness  is  to  insure  harmony  to  society,  and 
set  every  one  at  his  ease,  it  is  as  necessary  to  good  manners 
to  receive  a  well-meant  familiarity  in  a  like  spirit,  as  it  is  to 
check  one  which  arises  from  coarseness. 

On  the  Continent,  where  diffidence  is  unknown,  and  to 
be  friendly  is  the  first  object,  we  find  a  freedom  of  manners 
which  in  England  we  should  call  familiarity.  Let  a  man 
be  of  no  matter  what  station,  he  has  there  a  right  to  speak 
to  his  fellow-man,  if  good  him  seems,  and  certainly  the 
barrier  which  we  English  raise  up  between  classes  savours 
very  little  of  Christianity.  What  harm  can  it  do  me,  who 
call  myself  gentleman,  if  a  horny-handed  workman,  waiting 
for  the  same  train  as  myself,  comes  up  and  says,  "It  is  a  fine 
day,  sir,"  evincing  a  desire  for  a  further  interchange  of  ideas ; 
am  I  the  more  a  gentleman  because  I  cut  him  short  with  a 
"  Yes,"  and  turn  away ;  or  because,  as  many  people  do,  I 
stare  him  rudely  in  the  face,  and  vouchsafe  no  answer  ? 
"  Something  God  hath  to  say  to  thee  worth  hearing  from 
the  lips  of  all,"  and  I  may  be  sure  that  I  shall  learn  some- 
thing from  him,  if  I  talk  to  him  in  a  friendly  manner, 
while,  if  I  am  really  a  gentleman,  his  society  can  do  me  no 
harm. 

But  of  course  there  is  a  limit  to  be  fixed.  Englishmen 
respect  nothing  so  much  as  their  purses  and  their  private 
affairs,  and  in  England  you  might  as  well  ask  a  stranger  for 
five  pounds  as  inquire  what  he  was  travelling  for,  what  his 
income  was,  or  what  were  the  names  of  his  six  children. 
But  England  is  an  exception  in  this  case,  and  a  foreigner 
believes  that  he  does  himself  no  harm  by  telling  you  his 
family  history  at  first  sight.   While,  therefore,  it  is  a  gross 


TAKIKG  A  LIBERTY. 


impertinence  in  this  country  to  put  curious  questions  to  a 
person  of  whom  you  know  little,  while  it  is  reserved  for  the 
closest  intimacy  to  inquire  as  to  private  means  and  personal 
motives,  it  is  equally  ridiculous  in  an  Englishman  abroad  to 
take  offence  at  such  questions,  and  consider  as  an  imperti- 
nence what  is  only  meant  as  a  friendly  advance  to  nearer 
acquaintance.  I  certainly  cannot  understand  why  an  honest 
man  shoidd  determine  to  make  a  secret  of  his  position, 
profession,  and  resources,  unless  it  be  from  a  false  pride, 
and  a  desire  to  be  thought  richer  and  better  than  he  is  ; 
but  as  these  subjects  are  respected  in  this  country,  I  should 
be  guilty  of  great  ill-breeding  if  I  sought  to  remove  his 
secrecy. 

I  shall  never  forget  the  look  of  horror  and  astonishment 
I  once  saw  on  the  face  of  an  English  lady  talking  to  a 
foreign  ambassadress.  The  latter,  thoroughly  well-bred,  ac- 
cording to  native  ideas,  had  admired  the  former's  dress,  and 
touching  one  of  the  silk  flounces  delicately  enough,  she  in- 
quired, "  How  much  did  it  cost  a  yard  1"  Such  questions 
are  common  enough  on  the  Continent,  and  our  neighbours 
see  no  harm  in  them.  And  why  should  we  do  so  1  Is  it 
anyway  detrimental  to  us  to  tell  how  much  we  paid  for  our 
clothes  ?  Yet,  such  is  the  false  pride  of  English  people  on 
matters  connected,  however  slightly,  with  money,  that  even 
to  mention  that  most  necessary  article  is  considered  as  bad 
breeding  in  this  country.  "We  must  respect  the  prejudice, 
though,  in  fact,  it  is  a  vulgar  one. 

The  next  kind  of  bad  society  is  the  vulgar,  in  which  the 
morals  may  be  good,  but  the  manners  are  undoubtedly  bad. 
What  bad  manners  are  in  detail,  will  be  shown  in  the  course 
of  this  work  ;  but  I  shall  now  take  as  the  distinguishing 
test  of  this  kind  of  society — a  general  vulgarity  of  conduct. 
F 


42  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

Until  the  end  of  the  last  century,  the  word  vulgarity  was 
confined  to  the  low,  mean,  and  essentially  plebeian.  It 
would  be  well  if  we  could  so  limit  it  in  the  present  day, 
but  the  great  mixture  of  classes  and  the  elevation  of  wealth, 
have  thrust  vulgarity  even  into  the  circles  of  good  society, 
where,  like  a  black  sheep  in  a  white  flock,  you  may  some- 
times find  a  thoroughly  vulgar  man  or  woman  recommended 
by  little  but  their  wealth,  or  a  position  gained  by  certain 
popular  qualifications.  Where  the  majority  of  the  company 
are  decidedly  vulgar,  the  society  may  be  set  down  as  bad. 

Apart  from  coarseness  and  familiarity,  vulgarity  may  be 
defined  as  pretension  of  some  kind.  This  is  shown  promi- 
nently in  a  display  of  wealth.  I  remember  being  taken  to 
dine  at  the  house  of  a  French  corn-merchant,  who  had 
realized  an  enormous  fortune.  It  was  almost  a  family 
party,  for  there  were  only  three  strangers,  including  myself. 
The  manners  of  every  one  present  were  irreproachable,  and 
the  dinner  excellent,  but  it  was  served  on  gold  plate.  Such 
a  display  was  unnecessary,  inconsistent,  and  therefore  vul- 
gar. A  display  of  dress  in  ladies  comes  under  the  same 
head,  and  will  be  easily  detected  by  inappropriateness.  The 
lady  who  walks  in  the  streets  in  a  showy  dress  suitable  only 
to  a  fete;  who  comes  to  a  quiet  social  gathering  with  a 
profusion  of  costly  jewellery ;  the  man  who  electrifies  a 
country  village  with  the  fashionable  attire  of  Eotten  Eow, 
or  reminds  you  of  his  guineas  by  a  display  of  unnecessary 
jewels  ;  the  people,  in  short,  who  are  always  over-drest  for 
the  occasion,  may  be  set  down  as  vulgar.  Too  much  state 
is  a  vulgarity  not  always  confined  to  wealth,  and  when  a 
late  nobleman  visiting  a  simple  commoner  at  his  country 
house,  brought  with  him  a  valet,  coachman,  three  grooms, 
two  men-servants,  a  carriage,  and  half-a-dozen  horses,  he 


THE  VULGAEITY  OF  DISPLAY. 


43 


was  guilty  of  as  gross  vulgarity  as  Solomon  Moses  or 
Abiathar  Nathan,  who  adorns  his  fat  stumpy  fingers  with 
three  rings  a  piece.  So  completely  indeed  is  modesty  the 
true  spirit  of  good  breeding,  that  any  kind  of  display  in 
poor  or  rich,  high  or  low,  savours  of  vulgarity ;  and  the  man 
who  makes  too  much  of  his  peculiar  excellencies,  who 
attempts  to  engross  conversation  with  the  one  topic  he  is 
strong  in,  who  having  travelled  is  always  telling  you  "  what 
they  do  on  the  Continent ;"  who  being  a  scholar,  overwhelms 
you  with  Menander  or  Manetho,  who,  having  a  lively  wit, 
showers  down  on  the  whole  company  a  perpetual  hail  of  his 
own  bon  mots,  and  laughs  at  them  himself,  who,  gifted  with 
a  fine  voice,  monopolizes  the  piano  the  whole  evening,  who, 
having  distinguished  himself  in  the  Crimea,  perpetually 
leads  back  the  conversation  to  the  theme  of  war,  and  rattles 
away  on  his  own  achievements,  who,  having  written  a  book, 
interlards  his  talk  with,  "  As  I  say  in  my  novel,"  &c,  who 
being  a  fine  rider,  shows  his  horse  off  in  a  score  of  difficult 
manoeuvres,  as  Louis  Napoleon  did  at  the  Egremont  tour- 
nament, though  not  asked  to  take  part  in  the  lists,  who  goes 
to  a  party  with  all  the  medals  and  clasps  he  has  perhaps 
most  honourably  earned,  or  who,  being  a  great  man  in  any 
line,  puts  himself  prominently  forward,  condescends,  talks 
loud,  or  asserts  his  privileges,  is  a  vulgar  man,  be  he  king, 
kaiser,  or  cobbler. 

But  there  is  a  form  of  vulgarity  found  as  much  in  those  of 
small  as  those  of  large  means,  and  known  by  the  name  of 
"  gentility."  I  know  a  man  who  keeps  a  poor  little  worn-out 
pony-phseton,  and  always  speaks  of  it  as  "  my  carriage," 
taking  care  to  bring  it  in  whenever  possible.  My  friend 
Mrs.  Jones  dines  at  one  o'clock,  but  invariably  calls  it  her 
"  lunch."    The  Rev.  Mr.  Smith  cannot  afford  the  first-class 


44  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

oil  a  railway,  but  is  too  genteel  to  go  in  the  second.  Excel- 
lent man  !  he  tells  me — and  I  am  bound  to  believe  it: — that 
he  positively  prefers  the  third  class  to  the  first.  "  Those 
first-class  carriages  are  so  stuffy,"  he  says,  "  and  in  the 
second  one  meets  such  people,  it  is  really  unbearable,"  but 
he  does  not  let  me  know  that  in  the  third  he  will  have  to 
sit  next  to  an  odoriferous  ploughboy,  get  his  knees  crushed 
by  a  good  woman's  huge  market-basket,  and  catch  cold  from 
a  draught  passing  through  the  ill-adjusted  windows.  There 
is  no  earthly  reason  why  he  should  not  travel  in  what  carriage 
he  likes,  but  the  vulgarity  consists  in  being  ashamed  of  his 
poverty,  and  tacitly  pretending  to  be  better  off  than  he  is. 
Brown,  again,  calls  his  father's  nutshell  of  a  cottage  "  our 
country  seat,"  and  Mrs.  Brown  speaks  of  the  diminutive 
buttons  as  the  "man-servant."  My  tailor  has  his  crest 
embossed  on  his  note-paper  ;  Kobinson,  the  successful  stock- 
broker, covers  the  panels  of  his  carriage  with  armorial  bear- 
ings as  large  as  dishes  ;  Tomkins,  ashamed  of  his  father's 
name,  signs  himself  Tomkyns  ;  and  Mrs.  Williams,  when  I 
call,  always  discourses  on  English  history  that  she  may  bring 
in  John  of  Gaunt,  "  an  ancestor  of  ours,  you  know." 

Nor  is  gentility  confined  to  a  pretension  to  more  wealth, 
better  birth,  or  greater  state  than  we  possess.  The  com- 
monest form  of  it,  found  unfortunately  in  all  classes,  is  the 
pretension  to  a  higher  position  than  we  occupy.  The  John- 
sons, retired  haberdashers,  cannot  visit  the  Jacksons,  retired 
linen-drapers,  but  have  moved  heaven  and  earth  for  an  in- 
troduction to  the  Jamesons,  who  are  not  retired  from  any- 
thing. The  Jamesons  receive  the  Johnsons,  but  stiffly 
annihilate  them  at  once  by  talking  of  "  our  friends  the 
Williamsons,"  who  have  a  cousin  in  Parliament,  and 
the  Williamsons  again  are  for  ever  dragging  the  said  cousin 


PEETENSION. 


45 


into  their  conversation,  that  the  Jamesons  may  be  stupified. 
We  go  higher ;  the  M.P.,  though  perhaps  a  Radical,  will 
for  ever  be  dogging  the  steps  of  the  noble  viscount  opposite, 
and  call  the  leader  of  his  own  party  "  that  fellow  so-and- 
so."  The  viscount  is  condescendingly  gracious  to  the  com- 
moner, but  deferential  to  the  duke,  and  the  duke  himself 
will  be  as  merry  as  old  King  Cole,  if  "  the  blood"  should 
happen  to  notice  him  more  than  usual.  Alas  !  poor  worms, 
in  what  paltry  shadows  we  can  glory,  and  forget  the  end 
that  lays  us  all  in  the  common  comfortless  lap  of  mother 
earth  ! 

Nothing  therefore  will  more  irretrievably  stamp  you  as 
vulgar  in  really  good  society,  than  the  repeated  introduc- 
tion of  the  names  of  the  nobility,  or  even  of  distinguished 
personages  in  reference  to  yourself.  It  is  absurd  to  sup- 
pose that  you  can  reflect  the  light  of  these  greater  orbs ;  on 
the  contrary,  your  mention  of  them  naturally  suggests  a 
comparison,  such  as  one  makes  between  the  unpretending 
glorious  sun,  and  the  pale  pitiable  moon,  when  she  quits 
her  proper  sphere  and  forces  herself  into  broad  daylight. 
When  Scribbles  of  the  Seal  and  Tape  Office  tells  us  he  was 
flirting  last  night  with  Lady.  Adelaide,  when  the  Duke  of 

 came  up  and  "  shook  hands  with  me,  'pon  honour  he 

did,"  I  am  tempted  to  think  Scribbles  either  a  gross  exag- 
gerator,  or  a  grosser  snob.  When  worthy  Mrs.  Midge 
relates  for  the  thirteenth  time  how  she  travelled  down  with 
"  Her  Grace,"  and  I  see  how  her  eyes  glow,  and  how  vainly 
she  attempts  to  appear  indifferent  to  the  honour  (which  it 
is  to  her),  she  only  proves  to  me  how  small  she  must  feel  her- 
self to  be,  to  hope  to  gain  brilliance  by  such  a  slight  contact. 
I  feel  fain  to  remind  her  of  the  Indian  fable  of  a  lump  of 
crystal,  which  thought  it  would  be  mistaken  for  gold  be- 


46  THE  SPIRIT  OP  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

cause  it  reflected  the  glitter  of  the  neighbouring  metal.  It 
was  never  taken  for  gold,  but  it  was  supposed  to  cover  it, 
and  got  shivered  to  atoms  by  the  hammer  of  the  miner. 

But  when  this  vulgarity  is  reduced  to  practice  it  becomes 
actual  meanness.  The  race  of  panders,  parasites,  or  "  flun- 
keys," as  they  are  now  called,  is  one  which  has  flourished 
through  all  time,  and  the  satire  of  all  ages  has  been  freely 
levelled  at  their  servile  truculency.  But,  in  general,  they 
have  had  a  substantial  object  in  view,  and  mean  as  he  may 
be,  a  courtier  who  flattered  for  place  or  for  money,  is  some- 
how less  contemptible  than  the  modern  groveller  who  pan- 
ders to  the  great  from  pure  respect  of  their  greatness,  from 
pure  want  of  self-respect.  I  am  not  one  of  those  who  deny 
position  its  rights ;  and  as  long  as  caste  is  recognised  in  this 
country,  I  would  have  respect  shown  from  one  of  a  lower 
to  one  of  a  higher  class.  But  this  respect  for  the  position 
must  not  be  blind ;  it  should  not  extend  to  worship  of  the 
man.  No  rank,  no  wealth,  no  distinction,  even  if  gained 
by  merit,  should  close  our  eyes  to  actual  unworthiness  in 
its  holder.  We  may  bow  to  the  nobility  of  my  lord,  but 
we  are  truculent  slaves  if  we  call  it  nobleness.  We  may 
respect  with  dignity  the  accident  of  birth  and  wealth,  but 
if  the  duke  be  an  acknowledged  reprobate,  or  the  million- 
aire a  selfish  grasper,  we  are  inexcusable  if  we  allow  their 
accidental  distinctions  to  blot  out  their  glaring  faults.  What 
we  should  hate  in  our  friend,  and  punish  in  our  servant,  we 
must  never  overlook  as  a  "  weakness"  in  the  Duke  or 
Dives.  It  is  not  mere  vulgarity,  it  is  positive  unchristian- 
ity,  hopeless  injustice. 

A  less  offensive  but  more  ridiculous  form  of  vulgar 
gentility,  is  that  which  displays  itself  in  a  pretension  to 
Buperior  refinement  and  sensibility.    We  have  all  had  our 


HON!  SOIT  QUI  MAL  Y  PENSE. 


47 


laugh  at  the  American  ladies  who  talk  of  the  "  limbs"  of 
their  chairs  and  tables,  ask  for  a  slice  from  the  "  bosom" 
of  a  fowl,  and  speak  of  a  rump-steak  as  a  "  seat-fixing," 
but  in  reality  we  are  not  far  short  of  them,  when  we  invent 
the  most  far-fetched  terms  for  trousers,  and  our  young 
ladies  faint — or  try  to — at  the  mention  of  a  petticoat, — 
Honi  soit  qui  mal  y  pense  ;  and  shame  indeed  to  the  man, 
still  more  to  the  woman,  whose  mind  is  so  impure,  that  the 
mere  name  of  one  common  object  immediately  suggests 
another  which  decency  excludes  from  conversation.  It  is 
indeed  difficult  to  define  in  what  indelicacy  consists  and 
where  it  begins,  but  it  is  clear  that  nature  has  intended 
some  things  to  be  hidden ;  and  civilisation,  removing  farther 
and  farther  from  nature,  yet  not  going  against  it,  has 
added  many  more.  In  this  respect  civilisation  has  become 
a  second  nature,  and  what  it  has  once  concealed  cannot  be 
exposed  without  indelicacy.  For  instance,  nothing  is  more 
beautiful  than  the  bosom  of  a  woman,  and  to  a  pure  mind 
there  is  nothing  shocking,  but  something  touching  indeed, 
in  seeing  a  poor  woman  who  has  no  bread  to  give  it, 
suckling  her  child  in  public.  Still  civilisation  has  covered 
the  bosom,  and  the  ladies  who  wear  their  dresses  off  their 
shoulders  are,  in  the  present  day,  guilty  of  an  immodesty 
which  was  none  in  the  days  when  Lely  painted — on  can- 
vas, I  mean — the  beauties  of  Charles's  court. 

But  to  go  beyond  the  received  opinion  of  the  majority 
is  super-refinement  and  vulgarity,  and  too  often  tempts  us 
to  fancy  that  an  impure  association  has  suggested  the  idea 
of  impropriety.  I  cannot  imagine  what  indelicate  fancy 
those  people  must  have  who  will  not  allow  us  to  say  "  go 
to  bed,"  but  substitute  "  retire  to  rest."  Surely  the  couch 
where  dewy  sleep  drowns  our  cares  and  refreshes  our 


48 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


wearied  forms ;  where  we  dream  those  dreams  which  to 
some  are  the  only  bright  spots  of  their  lives;  where  we 
escape  for  a  time  from  the  grinding  of  the  worldly  mill, 
from  hunger,  calumny,  persecution,  and  dream  maybe  of 
heaven  itself  and  future  relief; — surely  our  pure  simple 
beds  are  too  sacred  to  be  polluted  with  the  impure  con- 
structions of  these  vulgar  prudes.  Or  again,  what  more 
beautiful  word  than  woman  1  woman,  man's  ruin  first,  and 
since  then  alternately  his  destroyer  and  saviour ;  woman 
who  consoles,  raises,  cherishes,  refines  us ;  and  yet  I  must 
forget  that  you  are  a  wroman,  and  only  call  you  a  lady. 
"  Lady"  is  a  beautiful  name,  a  high  noble  name,  but  it  is 
not  dear  and  near  to  me  like  "  woman."  Yet  if  I  speak 
of  you  as  a  woman,  you  leap  up  and  tell  me  you  will  not 
stay  to  be  insulted.  Poor  silly  little  thing,  I  gave  you  the 
name  I  loved  best,  and  you,  not  I,  connected  some  horrid 
idea  with  it ;  is  your  mind  or  mine  at  fault  1  Perhaps  the 
most  delightful  instance  of  this  indelicate  delicacy  of  terms 
was  in  the  case  of  the  elderly  spinster — of  whom  I  was 
told  the  other  day—who  kept  poultry,  but  always  spoke  of 
the  cock  as  the  "  hens'  companion." 

In  short,  it  amounts  to  this.  If  it  be  indelicate  to  men- 
tion a  thing,  let  it  never  be  mentioned  by  any  name  what- 
ever ;  if  it  be  not  indelicate  to  mention  it,  it  cannot  be  so 
to  use  its  ordinary  proper  name.  If  legs  are  naughty,  let 
us  never  speak  of  them  ;  if  not  naughty,  why  blush  to  call 
them  legs  1  The  change  of  name  cannot  change  the  idea 
suggested  by  it.  If  legs  be  a  naughty  idea,  then  no 
recourse  to  "  limbs"  will  save  you.  You  have  spoken  of 
legs,  though,  under  another  name ;  you  thought  of  legs,  you 
meant  legs ;  you  suggested  legs  to  me  under  that  other 
name ;  you  are  .clearly  an  egregious  sinner ;  you  are  like 


GENTILITY  IN  LANGUAGE. 


49 


the  French  soldier,  you  will  swear  by  the  "  sapreinent," 
saving  his  wretched  little  conscience  by  the  change  of  a 
single  letter.  That  reminds  me  of  a  nautical  friend  who 
"  cured"  himself,  he  said,  of  the  bad  habit  of  swearing,  by 
using,  instead  of  oaths,  the  words  Rotter — ,  Amster — , 
Potz — ,  and  Schie — ,  mentally  reserving  the  final  syl- 
lable of  these  names  of  towns,  &c,  and  fully  convinced  that 
he  did  well. 

That  same  habit  of  demi-swearing  is  another  bit  of  pre- 
tension, which,  if  it  cannot  be  called  vulgarity,  is  certainly 
Pharisaical.  The  young  lady  who  would  cut  you — properly 
enough — for  using  an  oath,  will  nevertheless  cry  "  bother" 
when  her  boot-lace  breaks,  or  what  not.  But  "  bother"  is 
only  the  feminine  form  of  your  Saxon  expletive,  and  means 
in  reality  just  as  much.  So,  too,  your  man  who  would 
cut  his  throat  sooner  than  use  a  bad  word,  will  nevertheless 
write  it  "  d — n,"  as  if  everybody  did  not  know  what 
two  letters  were  left  out.  There  is  great  hypocrisy  about 
these  things. 

But  the  worst  vulgarity  is  an  assumption  of  refinement 
in  the  choice  of  language.  This  is  common  among  servants 
in  England,  and  in  the  lower  orders  in  France  and  Ger- 
many, where  it  is  sometimes  very  amusing  to  hear  fine 
words  murdered  and  used  in  any  but  the  right  sense.  Mrs. 
jVtalaprop  saves  me  any  trouble  of  going  into  details  on  this 
point,  but  I  may  observe  that  the  best  speakers  will  never 
use  a  Latin  word  where  an  Anglo-Saxon  one  will  do  as 
well;  "buy"  is  better  than  "  purchase,"  "wish"  than 
9*  desire,"  and  so  on.  The  small  genteel,  you  will  observe, 
never  speak  of  rich  and  poor,  but  of  "  those  of  large  and 
those  of  small  means."  Another  similar  piece  of  flummery 
is  the  expression,  "  If  anything  should  happen  to  me," 

G 


50  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

which  everybody  knows  you  mean  for,  "  if  I  should  die." 
As  you  do  not  conceal  your  meaning,  why  not  speak  out 
bravely  1 

Besides  in  words,  there  is  an  over-refinement  in  habits. 
Even  cleanliness  can  be  exaggerated,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
Pharisees,  and  the  late  Duke  of  Queensberry,  who  would 
wash  in  nothing  but  milk.  Our  own  Queen  uses  distilled 
water  only  for  her  toilet ;  but  this  is  not  a  case  in  point, 
since  it  is  for  the  sake  of  health,  I  believe,  with  her.  A 
sad  case,  however,  was  that  of  the  lovely  Princess  Alexan- 
dria of  Bavaria,  who  died  mad  from  over-cleanliness.  It 
began  by  extreme  scrupulousness.  At  dinner  she  would 
minutely  examine  her  plate,  and  if  she  Saw  the  slightest 
speck  on  it,  would  send  for  another.  She  would  then  turn 
the  napkin  round  and  round  to  examine  every  corner, 
and  often  rise  from  table  because  she  thought  she  was 
not  served  properly  in  this  respect.  At  last  it  became  a 
monomania,  till  on  plates,  napkins,  dishes,  table-cloth,  and 
everything  else,  she  believed  she  saw  nothing  but  masses  of 
dirt.  It  weighed  on  her  mind,  poor  thing  •  she  could  not 
be  clean  enough,  and  it  drove  her  to  insanity. 

Anne  of  Austria  could  not  lay  her  delicate  limbs  in  any 
but  cambric  sheets,  and  there  are  many  young  gentlemen  in 
England  who  look  on  you  as  a  depraved  barbarian,  if  you 
do  not  wear  silk  stockings  under  your  boots.  Silver-spoonism 
is,  after  all,  vulgarity ;  it  is  an  assumption  of  delicacy 
superior  to  the  majority ;  and  so  too  is  prudery,  which  is 
only  an  assumption  of  superior  modesty. 

In  short,  refinement  must  not  war  against  nature,  but 
go  along  with  it,  and  the  true  gentleman  can  do  anything 
that  is  not  coarse  or  wrong.  Fitzlow,  who  cannot  lift  his 
own  carpet-bag  into  his  own  cab ;  Startup,  who  cannot  put 


DANGEKOUS  SOCIETY. 


a  lump  of  coal  on  the  fire ;  Miss  Languish,  who  "  never 
touched  a  needle ;"  and  Miss  Listless,  who  thinks  it  low  to 
rake  the  beds  in  the  garden,  or  tie  up  a  head  of  roses,  are 
not  ladies  and  gentlemen,  but  vulgar  people.  It  rather 
astonishes  such  persons  to  find  that  a  nobleman  can  carry 
his  bag,  and  stir  his  fire,  and  that  a  noble  lady  delights  in 
gardening. 

But  I  shall  risk  the  imputation  of  over-refinement  my- 
self, if  I  say  more  on  this  point,  and  so  I  come  to  the  third 
class  of  bad  society  in  which  the  manners  and  breeding  are 
perfect,  and  the  morals  bad,  which  is  the  most  dangerous 
class  there  is.  Without  agreeing  at  all  with  the  Chartist 
school  in  their  views  of  the  aristocracy,  I  think  it  must  be 
acknowledged  that  this  class  of  bad  society  is  found  mostly 
among  the  upper  circles  of  society,  and  for  the  simple  rea- 
son, that  except  among  them  vice  is  generally  accompanied 
with  bad  manners.  We  have  historical  proofs  in  any  quantity 
of  this  class  being  aristocratic.  The  vice  of  courts  is  pro- 
verbial, but  courtly  manners  are  reckoned  as  the  best.  All 
the  beaux  and  half  the  wits  on  record  have  led  bad  lives. 
Chesterfield  himself  was  a  dissolute  gambler,  and  repented 
bitterly  in  his  old  age  of  his  past  life,  and  it  is  he  who  says, 
that  the  best  company  is  not  necessarily  the  most  moral, 
which  determines  the  value  of  his  work  on  Etiquettef 
There  is,  however,  something  in  the  vice  of  this  kind  of 
society  which  at  once  makes  it  the  most  and  the  least  dan- 
gerous. All  vice  is  here  gilded  ;  it  is  made  elegant  and 
covered  with  a  gloss  of  good-breeding.  Men  of  family 
have  to  mix  with  ladies,  and  ladies  of  family  have  almost 
public  reputations  to  keep  up.  All  that  is  done  is  sub 
rosa.  There  are  none  of  the  grosser  vices  admitted  in  the 
present  day.    There  is  no  drunkenness,  little  or  no  swear- 


52 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSEE  VANCES. 


ing,  no  coarseness.  But  there  is  enough  of  gambling  still 
to  ruin  a  young  man,  and  the  "  social  evil"  here  takes  its 
most  elegant  and  most  seductive  form.  While,  therefore,  on 
the  one  hand,  you  may  mix  in  this  kind  of  society,  and  see 
and  therefore  know  very  little  of  its  immorality,  its  vices, 
when  known  to  you,  assume  a  fashionable  prestige  and  a 
certain  delicacy  which  seem  to  deprive  them  of  their  gross- 
ness  and  make  them  the  more  tempting.  Let  us  therefore 
call  no  society  good,  till  we  have  sounded  its  morals  as  well 
as:  its  manners  ;  and  this  brings  us  to  speak  of  what  good 
society  really  is. 

We  cannot  do  this  better  than  by  looking  first  into  what 
is  generally  taken  as  good  society.  I  shall,  therefore,  glance 
over  the  state  of  society  in  different  ages  in  this  country, 
and  in  the  present  day  on  the  Continent. 

The  real  civilisation  of  England  can  scarcely  be  dated 
earlier  than  at  the  Eeformation,  and  even  then  the  turbulent 
state  of  the  country,  setting  one  man's  knife  against  another, 
and  leaving,  when  bloodshed  was  shamed  back,  the  same 
deadly  hatred  showing  itself  in  open  reproaches  and  secret 
attacks,  made  social  gatherings  a  difficulty,  if  not  an  impos- 
sibility. Henry  vin.,  indeed,  had  a  somewhat  jovial  court, 
but  the  country  itself  was  far  too  unsettled  to  join  much 
in  the  merriment.  In  fact,  up  to  the  time  of  Charles  I., 
there  were  but  three  kinds  of  society  in  England  :  the 
court,  around  which  all  the  nobility  gathered,  making  Lon- 
don a  Helicon  of  manners ;  the  small  country  gentry  who 
could  not  come  up  to  London  ;  and  the  country  people,  among 
whom  manners  were  as  yet  as  rude  as  among  the  serfs  of 
Eussia  in  the  present  day.  In  the  court  there  had  suc- 
ceeded to  real  chivalry  a  kind  of  false  principle  of  honour. 
A  man  who  wore  a  sword  was  bound  to  use  it.  Quarrels 


SOCIETY  UNDER  GOOD  QUEEN  BESS. 

were  made  rapidly,  and  rapidly  patched  up  by  reference  to 
the  code  of  honour.  With  the  country  gentry,  the  main 
feature  was  a  rough  hospitality.  People  spoke  their  minds 
in  those  days  without  reserve,  and  a  courtier  was  looked 
on  as  a  crafty  man,  whose  words  served  to  conceal  rather 
than  express  his  thoughts.  Among  the  people  was  a  yet 
ruder  revelry,  and  the  morality  was  not  of  a  high  kind. 

The  position  of  woman  is  that  which  has  always  given 
the  key  to  civilisation.  The  higher  that  position  has  been 
raised,  the  more  influence  has  the  gentleness  which  arises 
from  her  weakness  been  felt  by  the  other  sex.  In  fact,  the 
term  "  gentleman"  only  came  in  when  women  were  ad- 
mitted into  society  on  a  par  with  men.  A  "  gentleman" 
was  a  man  who  could  associate  with  ladies.  And  what 
was  the  respect  exacted  by  and  paid  to  woman  before  the 
time  of  Charles  i.,  the  dramatists  of  the  Elizabethan  age 
tell  us  in  every  page.  "What  must  have  been  the  education 
of  the  Virgin  Queen  herself,  who  was  not  thought  very  ill 
of  for  allowing  Leicester  to  be  her  lady's-maid,  and  kiss  her 
without  asking  leave,  and  who  would  have  been  thought  a 
prude  had  she  objected  to  the  gross  scenes  in  the  masks 
and  plays  acted  before  her,  and  found  often  enough  even  in 
Shakspere.  Not  only  were  "  things  called  by  their  right 
names,"  but  an  insidious  innuendo  took  the  place  very  often 
of  better  wit,  and  was  probably  enjoyed  far  more. 

The  country  gentry  lived  in  their  moated  houses  at  great 
distances  from  one  another,  and  the  country  lady  was  rarely 
more  than  a  good  housewife,  serving  a  rough  hospitality  to 
her  guests ;  while  the  gentlemen  drank  deep,  swore  pretty 
oaths,  talked  far  from  reservedly  in  her  presence,  and  pleased 
her  most  with  the  broadest  compliment  to  her  fair  form. 

The  dignity  of  Charles  introduced  a  rather  more  noble 


5*-  THE  SPIEIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

bearing  among  the  men,  and  the  Puritans  did  much  to 
cleanse  society  of  its  gross  familiarities ;  but  the  position 
of  women  was  still  a  very  inferior  one,  and  it  was  not  till 
the  beginning  of  the  last  century  that  they  took  a  prominent 
place  in  society.  There  had  gradually  sprung  up  another 
class,  which  gave  the  tone  to  manners.  Hitherto  there  had 
been  in  London  only  the  Court-circles  and  the  bourgeoisie. 
But  as  the  lesser  nobility  grew  richer  and  nocked  to  the 
large  towns,  they  began  to  form  a  large  class  apart  from 
the  Court,  which  gradually  narrowed  its  circle  more  and 
more.  But  good  society  still  meant  high  society,  and 
Chesterfield  was  right  in  recommending  his  son  to  seek  out 
rank  and  wealth,  for  those  who  had  it  not  were  generally 
badly  educated  and  worse  mannered.  There  was,  however, 
one  class  now  rising  into  a  separate  existence,  which  the 
patron  of  manners  has  not  overlooked.  It  is  to  those  men 
of  education  and  mind,  who,  lacking  rank  and  wealth,  were 
still  remarkable  for  the  vivacity  of  their  conversation — in 
short,  to  the  wits — that  we  owe  the  origin  of  our  modern 
"  middle  classes." 

The  Spectator,  however,  proves  what  women  were  at 
this  period.  Little  educated  and  with  no  accomplishments 
save  that  of  flirting  a  fan,  the  more  fashionable  gave  them- 
selves up  to  extravagances  of  dress,  and  were  distinguished 
for  the  smartness,  not  the  sense  of  their  conversation. 
They  were  still  unsuited,  perhaps  more  so  than  ever,  for 
the  companionship  of  intellectual  men,  and  it  was  the 
elegant  triflers,  like  Walpole,  rather  than  men  of  sound 
serious  minds,  who  made  correspondents  of  them.  The 
consequence  was  that  the  men  gathered  together  in  clubs, 
a  species  of  evening  society  which,  while  it  fostered  wit, 
destroyed  the  stage,  and  made  a  system  of  gambling  and 


SOCIETY  IN  THE  LAST  CENTURY. 


drinking.  The  high  society  was  still  the  best,  and  it  was 
among  the  nobility  chiefly  that  women  began  to  mix  in  the 
amusements  of  the  other  sex.  Balls,  too,  were  no  longer 
an  entertainment  reserved  for  Court  and  the  grandees  ;  and 
in  the  balls  at  Bath,  under  Beau  Nash,  we  find  the  first 
attempt  to  mingle  the  gentry  and  bourgeoisie,  and  thus 
form  the  nucleus  of  a  middle  class.  It  was  now  too  that 
mere  wealth,  which  could  never  have  brought  its  owner 
into  the  Court-circles,  or  been  a  sufficient  recommendation 
to  the  nobility  of  the  seventeenth  century,  became  an  autho- 
ritative introduction  among  the  gentry. 

If  England  is  the  only  European  country  which  has  a 
real  middle  class,  where  birth  is  of  no  account,  it  is  owing 
to  that  law  of  primogeniture  which  from  very  remote  times 
caused  the  "formation  of  a  class  known  as  "  gentry,"  which 
has  no  equivalent  in  any  Continental  country.  It  was  this 
class,  which  belonging  by  connexion  to  the  aristocracy, 
belonged  by  necessity  to  the  bourgeoisie,  from  whom 
they  were  not  distinguished  by  actual  rank.  From  the 
bourgeoisie,  indeed,  they  kept  aloof  as  long  as  possible ; 
but  wealth,  which  could  give  the  gentry  a  footing  among 
the  aristocracy,  could  only  come  from  the  mercantile  classes, 
and  the  rich  merchant's  daughter  who  was  married  to  a 
country  gentleman  soon  succeeded  in  bringing  her  rela- 
tions into  his  set.  Towards  the  end,  therefore,  of  the 
last  century,  we  find  three  classes  between  the  Court  and 
the  people,  namely,  the  noble,  the  "  gentle,"  and  the  rich ; 
in  other  words,  rank,  birth,  and  wealth  were  the  requisites.;, 
of  society.  The  higher  classes  were  still  the  best  educated, 
but  the  wealthy  looked  to  education  to  fit  them  for  the 
circles  of  the  gentry,  and  women  being  better  educated 
took  a  more  important  place  in  social  arrangements* 


56 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


In  this  century  these  classes  began  to  draw  together. 
The  noble  sought  wives  among  the  rich ;  the  rich  became 
gentle  in  a  couple  of  generations  ;  and  the  gentry  became 
rich  by  marriage. 

But  if  a  merchant  or  successful  speculator  were  admitted 
in  higher  circles,  the  professional  man,  who  could  go  to 
Court  and  had  always  taken  precedence  of  trade,  could 
not  be  excluded.  Hitherto  the  liberal  professions  and 
literature  had  occupied  a  kind  of  dependent  position.  The 
clergyman  was  almost  a  retainer  of  the  squire's,  the  lawyer 
was  the  landowner's  agent,  the  doctor  had  his  great  patron, 
and  the  writer  often  lived  on  the  money  given  for  fulsome 
dedications  to  those  noblemen  and  others  who  wished  to 
appear  in  the  light  of  a  Maecenas.  These  distinctions, 
however,  were  lost  in  great  cities,  and  the  growth  of  the 
population  gave  to  at  least  three  of  these  professions  a 
public  which  paid  as  well  as,  and  exacted  less  adulation 
than  the  oligarchy  ;  not  indeed  giving  less  trouble,  for 
we  have  now  a  thousand  tastes  to  study  instead  of  one, 
a  thousand  prejudices  to  respect ;  and  if  we  do  not  write 
fulsome  dedications  to  the  public,  we  are  no  less  compelled 
to  insert  every  here  and  there  that  artful  flattery  which 
makes  John  Bull  appear  in  the  light  of — I  do  not  say 
the  best  and  most  noble — but  the  richest,  most  power- 
ful, most  thriving,  most  honest,  most  amiably  faulty,  but 
magnanimously  virtuous  of  publics. 

But  I  am  not  flattering  you,  Mr.  Bull,  when  I  tell  you 
that  in  respect  of  your  middle  classes  you  have  made  a 
vast  step  in  advance  of  all  other  nations.  For  what  does 
the  middle-class  mean  ?  Not  twenty  years  ago,  it  was 
taken  to  represent  only  the  better  portion  of  the  com- 
mercial and  lower  half  of  professional  society.    I  well 


THE  MIDDLE  CLASSES. 


57 


remember  with  what  a  sneer  some  people  spoke  of  a 
merchant,  and  the  gulf  that  the  barrister  and  physician 
asserted  to  exist  between  them  and  the  lawyer  and  general 
practitioner.  And  how  is  it  now  1  How  many  gentle- 
men of  old  family  would  now  decline  an  introduction  to 
a  well-educated  merchant  ?  How  many  rather  would  not 
recommend  their  sons  to  be  constant  visitors  on  the  mer- 
chant's wife  and  daughters  ?  Is  it  not  the  barrister  who 
now  flatters  the  attorney,  and  where  is  the  distinction 
between  physician  and  surgeon  %  No ;  the  middle-class 
has  an  enormous  extent  now,  and  even  the  landed  gentry, 
when  brought  to  town,  mingle  freely  and  gladly  with 
commerce  and  the  professions.  In  fact,  we  are  more  and 
more  widening  our  range.  The  nobleman  takes  a  part- 
nership in  a  brewery,  on  the  one  hand  ;  on  the  other, 
the  haberdasher  sits  in  Parliament,  and  sends  his  son  to 
Oxford.  The  gentry,  throwing  over  birth  as  a  useless  com- 
modity, rush  into  commerce  and  the  professions.  Dukes 
and  peers  are  delighted  to  make  money  by  writing,  if 
they  do  not  confess  to  writing  for  money.  The  merchant 
is  at  last  received  at  Court ;  the  banker  is  a  peer ;  the 
shop-boy  who  has  worked  his  way  to  the  Woolsack,  brings 
with  him  a  sympathy  for  shop-boys  {perhaps),  which 
lessens  the  gulf  between  trade  and  aristocracy  ;  and  be- 
holding these  and  many  other  wonders,  you  exclaim  with 
glee  :  "  It  is  an  age  of  unity,  caste  is  obliterated,  and 
in  another  fifty  years  even  the  distinction  of  a  title  will 
be  gone,  and  the  middle-class  will  comprise  all  who  are 
educated." 

Softly,  softly,  my  friend ;  no  Utopias,  if  you  please. 
Caste  may  be  abolished  in  name,  but  it  will  exist  in  feeling 
for  many  an  age,  though  its  limitations  be  not  those  of 


58  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

rank,  birth,  and  wealth.  We  used  to  say  at  the  university 
that  the  larger  a  college,  the  smaller  its  sets,  and  that  you 
knew  more  men  in  a  small  college  than  you  possibly  could 
in  a  large  one.  It  is  the  same  with  the  middle,  or  as  it  is 
now  called  the  educated  class.  The  larger  it  grows,  the 
more  it  will  split  up  into  classes  which  may  have  no  name, 
and  may  be  separated  by  very  slight  distinctions,  but  which 
will  in  reality,  if  not  in  appearance,  be  as  far  apart  in  feel- 
ing as  the  old  castes  were  in  every  respect.  In  short, 
"  good  society  "  has  substituted  for  the  old  distinctions  of 
rank,  birth,  wealth,  and  intellectual  pre-eminence,  one  less 
distinct  in  appearance,  far  more  subtle,  but  far  more  diffi- 
cult to  attain.  Indeed,  rank  and  birth  were  gifts,  wealth 
often  came  by  inheritance,  and  a  man  might  be  born  a  wit 
or  a  genius,  but  that  which  has  taken  their  place  as  a  test 
can  be  acquired  only  by  education,  careful  study,  and 
observation,  followed  up  by  practice.  It  goes  by  the  name 
of  "  breeding,"  and  when  people  talk  to  you  of  innate  good- 
breeding,  they  speak  of  an  impossibility.  Some  of  its  ne- 
cessary qualities  may  be  innate,  and  these  may  show  them- 
selves on  occasions,  and  be  mistaken  for  good-breeding 
itself,  but  a  further  acquaintance  may  reveal  the  possessor 
in  a  different  light.  Good-breeding  is  only  acquired,  being 
taught  us  by  our  nurses,  our  parents,  our  tutors,  our  school- 
fellows, our  friends,  our  enemies  still  more,  and  our  experi- 
ence everywhere  ;  and  yet  not  one  of  these  teachers  may 
possess  it  themselves  ;  many,  as  nurses  and  school-fellows, 
certainly  do  not.  It  is  breeding  which  now  divides  the  one 
class  you  claim  to  exist,  into  so  many  classes,  all  of  which 
are  educated.  One  set  has  no  breeding  at  all,  another 
has  a  little,  another  more,  another  enough,  and  another  too 
much — for  this  also  is  possible — and  between  that  which 


EDUCATION. 


59 


has  none,  and  that  which  has  enough,  there  are  more 
shades  than  in  the  rainbow. 

We  can  now  therefore  speak  of  the  principal  requisites  of 
good  society,  of  which  good-breeding — that  is,  enough  and 
not  too  much  of  it — is  the  first.  I  have  shown  that, 
until  the  development  of  a  middle  class,  the  best  society 
(not  in  a  moral,  but  general  point  of  view)  was  to  be  found 
among  the  aristocracy.  Hence  the  word  "  aristocratic" 
has  come  to  mean  "  good  for  society/'  and  therefore  while 
I  premise  that  the  best  society  is  not  now  high  society 
either  by  wealth,  birth,  or  distinction,  I  shall  also  premise 
that  good  society  is  essentially  aristocratic  in  the  sense  in 
which  we  speak  of  aristocratic  beauty,  aristocratic  bearing, 
aristocratic  appearance  and  manners. 

The  first  indispensable  requisite  for  good  society  is  edu- 
cation. By  this  I  do  not  mean  the  so-called  "  finished 
education"  of  a  university  or  a  boarding-school.  I  think 
it  will  be  found  that  these  establishments  put  their 
"finish"  somewhere  in  the  middle  of  the  course;  they 
may  possibly  finish  you  as  far  as  teachers  can,  but  the 
education  which  is  to  fit  you  for  good  society  must  be  pur- 
sued long  after  you  leave  them,  as  it  ought  to  have  been 
begun  long  before  you  went  to  them.  This  education 
should  have  commenced  with  developing  the  mental  powers, 
and  especially  the  comprehension.  A  man  should  be  able, 
in  order  to  enter  into  conversation,  to  catch  rapidly  the 
meaning  of  anything  that  is  advanced  ;  for  instance,  though 
you  know  nothing  of  science,  you  should  not  be  obliged  to 
stare  and  be  silent,  when  a  man  who  does  understand  it  is 
explaining  a  new  discovery  or  a  new  theory  ;  though  you 
have  not  read  a  word  of  Blackstone,  your  comprehensive 
powers  should  be  sufficiently  acute  to  enable  you  to  take  in 


CO  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

the  statement  that  may  be  made  of  a  recent  cause ;  though 
you  may  not  have  read  some  particular  book,  you  should 
be  capable  of  appreciating  the  criticism  which  you  hear  of 
it.  Without  such  a  power — simple  enough  and  easily 
attained  by  attention  and  practice,  yet  too  seldom  met  with 
in  general  society — a  conversation  which  departs  from  the 
most  ordinary  topics  cannot  be  maintained  without  the  risk 
of  lapsing  into  a  lecture ;  with  such  a  power  society  be- 
comes instructive  as  well  as  amusing,  and  you  have  no 
remorse  at  an  evening's  end  at  having  wasted  three  or  four 
hours  in  profitless  banter  or  simpering  platitudes.  This 
facility  of  comprehension  often  startles  us  in  some  women, 
whose  education  we  know  to  have  been  poor,  and  whose 
reading  is  limited.  If  they  did  not  rapidly  receive  your 
ideas,  they  could  not  therefore  be  fit  companions  for  intel- 
lectual men,  and  it  is  perhaps  their  consciousness  of  a  defi- 
ciency which  leads  them  to  pay  the  more  attention  to  what 
you  say.  It  is  this  which  makes  married  women  so  much 
more  agreeable  to  men  of  thought  than  young  ladies,  as 
a  rule,  can  be,  for  they  are  accustomed  to  the  society  of  a 
husband,  and  the  effort  to  be  a  companion  to  his  mind  has 
engrafted  the  habit  of  attention  and  ready  reply. 

No  less  important  is  the  cultivation  of  taste.  If  it  is 
tiresome  and  deadening  to  be  with  people  who  cannot 
understand,  and  will  not  even  appear  to  be  interested  in 
your  better  thoughts,  it  is  almost  repulsive  to  find  a  man, 
still  more  a  woman,  insensible  to  all  beauty,  and  immovable 
by  any  horror.  I  remember  passing  through  the  galleries 
of  Hampton  Court  with  a  lady  of  this  kind  in  whom  I  had 
in  vain  looked  for  enthusiasm.  "  Ah  !"  I  exclaimed,  as 
we  passed  into  a  well-known  gallery,  "  we  are  come  at  last 
to  Raphael's  cartoons." 


CULTIVATION  OF  TASTE. 


61 


"Are  we?"  she  asked  languidly,  as  we  stood  in  the 
presence  of  those  grand  conceptions.  "  Dear  me,  how  high 
the  fountain's  playing  in  the  court  !" 

In  the  present  day  an  acquaintance  with  art,  even  if  you 
have  no  love  for  it,  is  a  sine  qud  non  of  good  society. 
Music  and  painting  are  subjects  which  will  be  discussed  in 
every  direction  round  you.  It  is  only  in  bad  society  that 
people  go  to  the  opera,  concerts,  and  art-exhibitions  merely 
because  it  is  the  fashion,  or  to  say  they  have  been  there ; 
and  if  you  confessed  to  such  a  weakness  in  really  good 
society,  you  would  be  justly  voted  a  puppy.  For  this,  too, 
some  book-knowledge  is  indispensable.  You  should  at  least 
know  the  names  of  the  more  celebrated  artists,  composers, 
architects,  sculptors,  and  so  forth,  and  should  be  able  to 
approximate  their  several  schools. 

"I  have  just  bought  a  Hobbema,"  was  said  to  Mrs.  B. 
the  other  day.  "  What  shall  you  put  into  it  P  said  she, 
hoping  to  conceal  her  ignorance. 

So,  too,  you  should  know  pretty  accurately  the  pro- 
nunciation of  celebrated  ,names,  or,  if  not,  take  care  not  to 
use  them.  An  acquaintance  of  mine  is  always  talking 
about  pictures,  and  asks  me  how  I  like  iZannibal  Carra^i, 
and  GAarlanda^ro.  It  was  the  same  person  who,  seeing  at 
the  bottom  of  a  rare  engraving  the  name  "  Eaphael  Mengs," 
said  in  a  kind  of  musing  rapture,  "Beautiful  thing,  in- 
deed, quite  in  Raphael's  earlier  style  ;  you  can  trace  the 
influence  of  Perugino  in  that  figure.''  So,  too,  it  will 
never  do  to  be  ignorant  of  the  names  and  approximate 
ages  of  great  composers,  especially  in  London,  where  music 
is  so  highly  appreciated  and  so  common  a  theme.  It  will  be 
decidedly  condemnatory  if  you  talk  of  the  new  opera,  "  Don 
Giovanni,"  or  Rossini's  "  Trovatore  •"  or  are  ignorant  who 


62  THE  SPIRIT  OE  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

composed  "  Fidelio,"  and  in  what  opera  occur  such  common 
pieces  as  "  Ciascun  lo  dice,"  or  "  II  segreto."  I  do  not  say 
that  these  trifles  are  indispensable,  and  when  a  man  has 
better  knowledge  to  offer,  especially  with  genius,  or 
"  cleverness"  to  back  it,  he  will  not  only  be  pardoned  for 
an  ignorance  of  them,  but  can  even  take  a  high  tone 
and  profess  indifference  or  contempt  of  them.  But  at  the 
same  time  such  ignorance  stamps  an  ordinary  man,  and 
hinders  conversation.  On  the  other  hand,  the  best  society 
will  not  endure  dilettantism,  and  whatever  the  knowledge 
a  man  may  possess  of  any  art,  he  must  not  display  it  so 
as  to  make  the  ignorance  of  others  painful  to  them.  We 
are  gentlemen,  not  picture-dealers.  But  this  applies  to 
every  topic.  To  have  only  one  or  two  subjects  to  converse 
on,  and  to  discourse  rather  than  talk  on  them,  is  always 
ill-bred,  whether  the  theme  be  literature  or  horse-flesh. 
The  Newmarket  lounger  would  probably  denounce  the 
former  as  "a  bore,"  and  call  us  pedants  for  dwelling  on 
it ;  but  if,  as  is  too  often  the  case,  he  can  give  us  no- 
thing more  general  than  a  discussion  of  the  "  points  "  of  a 
mare  that  perhaps  we  have  never  even  seen,  he  is  as  great 
a  pedant  in  his  way. 

Reason  plays  a  less  conspicuous  part  in  good  society,  be- 
cause its  frequenters  are  too  reasonable  to  be  mere  reasoners. 
A  disputation  is  always  dangerous  to  temper,  and  tedious 
to  those  who  cannot  feel  as  eager  as  the  disputants ;  a  dis- 
cussion, on  the  other  hand,  in  which  everybody  has  a  chance 
of  stating  amicably  and  unobtrusively  his  or  her  opinion, 
must  be  of  frequent  occurrence.  But  to  cultivate  the  rea- 
son, besides  its  high  moral  value,  has  the  advantage  of 
enabling  one  to  reply  as  well  as  attend  to  the  opinions  of 
others.    Nothing  is  more  tedious  or  disheartening  than  a 


DOCTOR  S1NTAX. 


63 


perpetual  "Yes,  just  so,"  and  nothing  more.  Conversa- 
tion must  never  be  one-sided.  Then,  again,  the  reason 
enables  us  to  support  a  fancy  or  opinion,  when  we  are  asked 
why  we  think  so  and  so.  To  reply,  "  I  don't  know,  but 
still  I  think  so,"  is  silly  in  a  man  and  tedious  in  a  woman. 
But  there  is  a  part  of  our  education  so  important  and  so 
neglected  in  our  schools  and  colleges,  that  it  cannot  be  too 
highly  impressed  on  parents  on  the  one  hand,  and  young 
people  on  the  other.  I  mean  that  which  we  learn  first  of 
all  things,  yet  often  have  not  learned  fully  when  Death 
eases  us  of  the  necessity — the  art  of  speaking  our  own 
language.  What  can  Greek  and  Latin,  French  and  German, 
be  for  us  in  our  every-day  life,  if  we  have  not  acquired 
this  ?  We  are  often  encouraged  to  raise  a  laugh  at  Doctor 
Syntax  and  the  tyranny  of  Grammar,  but  we  may  be  cer- 
tain that  more  misunderstandings,  and  therefore  more  diffi- 
culties, arise  between  men  in  the  commonest  intercourse 
from  a  want  of  grammatical  precision,  than  from  any  other 
cause.  It  was  once  the  fashion  to  neglect  grammar,  as  it 
now  is  with  certain  people  to  write  illegibly,  and  in  the 
days  of  Goethe,  a  man  thought  himself  a  genius  if  he  could 
spell  badly.  How  much  this  simple  knowledge  is  neglected 
in  England,  even  among  the  upper  classes,  is  shown  by  the 
results  of  the  examinations  for  the  army  and  the  civil  ser- 
vices ;  how  valuable  it  is,  is  now  generally  acknowledged 
by  men  of  sound  sense.  Precision  and  accuracy  must 
begin  in  the  very  outset ;  and  if  we  neglect  them  in  gram- 
mar, we  shall  scarcely  acquire  them  in  expressing  our 
thoughts.  But  since  there  is  no  society  without  inter- 
change of  thought,  and  since  the  best  society  is  that  in 
which  the  best  thoughts  are  interchanged  in  the  best 
and  moat  comprehensible  manner,  it  follow®  that  a  prope* 


G4  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

mode  of  expressing  ourselves  is  indispensable  to  good 
society. 

There  is  one  poor  neglected  letter,  the  subject  of  a 
poetical  charade  by  Byron,  which  people  in  the  present 
day  have  made  the  test  of  fitness  for  good  society.  For  my 
part,  T  would  sooner  associate  with  a  man  who  dropped 
that  eighth  letter  of  our  alphabet  than  with  one  who  spoke 
bad  grammar  and  expressed  himself  ill.  But  if  he  has  not 
learned  to  pronounce  a  letter  properly,  it  is  scarcely  pro- 
bable that  he  will  have  studied  the  art  of  speech  at  all. 
It  is  amusing  to  hear  the  ingenious  excuses  made  by  people 
for  this  neglect.  "  Mrs.  A — ,"  one  person  tells  you,  "  is 
a  woman  of  excellent  education.  You  must  not  be  sur- 
prised at  her  dropping  her  h's,  it  is  a  Staffordshire  habit, 
and  she  has  lived  all  her  life  in  that  county."  I  fancy 
that  it  is  not  Staffordshire  or  any  other  shire  that  can  be 
saddled  with  the  fault.  It  is  simply  a  habit  of  ill-bred 
people  everywhere  throughout  the  three  kingdoms.  Nor 
is  the  plea  of  dialect  any  real  excuse.  It  is  a  peculiarity 
of  Middlesex  dialect  to  put  a  v  for  a  w,  and  a  iv  for  a  v. 
Would  any  one  on  that  account  present  Mr.  Samivel  Veller 
as  a  gentleman  of  good  education,  with  a  slight  peculiarity 
of  dialect  in  his  speech  1  Good  society  uses  the  same  lan- 
guage everywhere,  and  dialects  ought  to  be  got  rid  of  in 
those  who  would  frequent  it.  The  language  of  Burns  may 
be  very  beautiful  in  poetry,  and  the  ballads  of  Moore  may 
gain  much  from  a  strong  Irish  brogue,  but  if  we  object  to 
London  slang  in  conversation,  we  have  as  much  right  to 
object  to  local  peculiarities  which  make  your  speech  either 
incomprehensible  or  ridiculous ;  and  certain  it  is  that  the 
persons  whose  strong  nationality  induces  them  to  retain 
their  Scotch  or  Irish  idiom  and  accent,  are  always  ready 


LANGUAGE  AND  LITERATURE. 


G5 


to  protest  against  Americanisms,  and  would  be  very  much 
bothered  if  a  Yorkshire  landowner  were  to  introduce  his 
local  drawl  into  the  drawing-room.  Localism  is  not  patriot- 
ism, and  therefore  until  the  Union  is  dissolved,  we  must 
request  people  to  talk  English  in  English  society. 

The  art  of  expressing  one's  thoughts  neatly  and  suitably 
is  one  which,  in  the  neglect  of  rhetoric  as  a  study,  we  must 
practise  for  ourselves.  The  commonest  thought  well  put 
is  more  useful  in  a  social  point  of  view  than  the  most  bril- 
liant idea  jumbled  out.  What  is  well  expressed  is  easily 
seized  and  therefore  readily  responded  to  ;  the  most  poetic 
fancy  may  be  lost  to  the  hearer  if  the  language  which  con- 
veys it  is  obscure.  Speech  is  the  gift  which  distinguishes 
man  from  animals,  and  makes  society  possible.  He  has  but 
a  poor  appreciation  of  his  high  privilege  as  a  human  being, 
who  neglects  to  cultivate  "  God's  great  gift  of  speech." 

As  I  am  not  writing  for  men  of  genius,  but  for  ordinary 
beings,  I  am  right  to  state  that  an  indispensable  part  of 
education  is  a  knowledge  of  English  literature.  But  how 
to  read  is,  for  society,  more  important  than  what  we  read. 
The  man  who  takes  up  nothing  but  a  newspaper,  but  reads 
it  to  think,  to  deduct  conclusions  from  its  premises,  and 
form  a  judgment  on  its  opinions,  is  more  fitted  for  society 
than  he,  who,  having  a  large  box  regularly  from  Mudie's, 
and  devoting  his  whole  day  to  its  contents,  swallows  it  all 
without  digestion.  In  fact,  the  mind  must  be  treated  like 
the  body,  and  however  great  its  appetite,  it  will  soon  fall 
into  bad  health,  if  it  gorges  but  does  not  ruminate.  At 
the  same  time  an  acquaintance  with  the  best  current  litera- 
ture is  necessary  to  modern  society,  and  it  is  not  sufficient 
to  have  read  a  book  without  being  able  to  pass  a  judgment 
on  it.  Conversation  on  literature  is  impossible,  when  your 
I 


66  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

respondent  can  only  say,  "  Yes,  I  like  the  book,  but  I  really 
don't  know  why."  Or  what  can  we  do  with  the  young- 
lady  whose  literary  stock  is  as  limited  as  that  of  the  daugh- 
ter of  a  late  eminent  member  of  Parliament,  whom  a  friend 
of  mine  had  once  to  take  down  to  dinner  ? 

He  had  tried  her  on  music  and  painting  in  vain.  She 
had  no  taste  for  either.  Society  was  as  barren  a  theme, 
for  papa  did  not  approve  of  any  but  dinner  parties. 

"  Then  I  suppose  you  read  a  great  deal?"  asked  my 
friend. 

"  Oh,  yes  !  we  read.'* 

"  Light  literature?" 

"  Oh,  yes  !  light  literature." 

"  Novels,  for  instance?" 

"  Oh,  yes  !  novels." 

"  Do  you  like  Dickens?" 

"  We  don't  read  Dickens." 

"  Oh  !  I  see  you  are  of  Thackeray's  party." 

"  We  never  read  Thackeray." 

"  Then  you  are  romantic,  and  devoted  to  Bulwer  Lytton  ?" 
"  Never,"  replied  the  young  lady,  rather  shocked. 
"Then  which  is  your  favourite  novelist  ?" 
"  James,"  she  replied  triumphantly. 
"Ah  !"  said  my  friend,  reviving  a  little,  "James  is 
exciting." 

"  Oh,  yes  !  we  like  his  books  so  much  !  Papa  reads 
them  aloud  to  us,  but  then  he  misses  out  all  the  exciting 
parts." 

After  that  my  friend  found  his  knife  and  fork  better 
company  than  his  neighbour. 

An  acquaintance  with  old  English  literature  is  not 
perhaps  indispensable,  but  it  gives  a  man  great  advantage 


MORAL  CHARACTER. 


67 


in  all  kinds  of  society,  and  in  some  lie  is  at  constant  loss 
without  it.  The  same  may  be  said  of  foreign  literature, 
which  in  the  present  day  is  almost  as  much  discussed  as 
our  own  ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  an  acquaintance  with 
home  and  foreign  politics,  with  current  history,  and  every 
subject  of  passing  interest,  is  absolutely  necessary;  and  a 
person  of  sufficient  intelligence  to  join  in  good  society  cannot 
dispense  with  his  daily  newspaper,  his  literary  journal,  and 
the  principal  quarterly  reviews  and  magazines.  The  cheap- 
ness of  every  kind  of  literature,  the  facilities  of  our  well- 
stored  circulating  libraries,  our  public  reading-rooms  and 
numerous  excellent  lectures  on  every  possible  subject,  leave 
no  excuse  to  poor  or  rich  for  an  ignorance  of  any  of  the 
topics  discussed  in  intellectual  society.  You  may  forget 
your  Latin,  Greek,  French,  German,  and  Mathematics,  but 
if  you  frequent  good  company  you  will  never  be  allowed  to 
forget  that  you  are  a  citizen  of  the  world. 

The  respect  for  moral  character  is  a  distinguishing  mark 
of  good  society  in  this  country  as  compared  with  that 
of  the  Continent.  No  rank,  no  wealth,  no  celebrity  will 
induce  a  well-bred  English  lady  to  admit  to  her  drawing- 
room  a  man  or  woman  whose  character  is  known  to  be 
bad.  Society  is  a  severe  censor,  pitiless  and  remorseless. 
The  woman  who  has  once  fallen,  the  man  who  has  once 
lost  his  honour,  may  repent  for  years  ;  good  society  shuts 
its  doors  on  them  once  and  for  ever.  Perhaps  this  is  the 
only  case  in  which  the  best  society  is  antagonistic  to  Chris- 
tianity ;  but,  in  extenuation,  it  must  be  remembered  that 
there  is  no  court  in  which  to  try  those  who  sin  against  it. 
Society  itself  is  the  court  in  which  are  judged  those  many 
offences  which  the  law  cannot  reach,  and  this  inclemency 
of  the  world,  this  exile  for  life  which  it  pronounces, 


68  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

must  be  regarded  as  the  only  deterrent  against  certain 
sins.  There  is  little  or  no  means  of  punishing  the  seducer, 
the  cheat,  the  habitual  drunkard  and  gambler,  and  men 
and  women  who  indulge  in  illicit  pleasures,  except  this 
one  verdict  of  perpetual  expulsion  pronounced  by  good 
society.  Often  is  it  given  without  a  fair  trial,  on  the 
report  of  a  slanderer  ;  often  it  falls  upon  the  wrong  head  ; 
often  it  proves  its  injustice  in  ignoring  the  vices  of  one  and 
fulminating  against  those  of  another ;  often,  by  its  impla- 
cability, drives  the  offender  to  despair,  and  makes  the  one 
false  step  lead  to  the  ruin  of  a  life  :  but  it  must  be 
remembered  what  interests  society  has  to  protect — the 
purity  of  daughters,  wives,  and  sisters,  the  honour  of  sons  ; 
it  must  be  allowed  that  its  means  of  obtaining  evidence  is 
very  slight ;  and  that,  on  the  other  hand,  it  cannot  institute 
an  inquisition  into  the  conduct  of  all  its  members,  since  the 
mere  suspicion  which  such  an  inquiry  would  excite  is 
sufficient  to  ruin  a  character  that  might  prove  to  be  inno- 
cent. Society,  then,  is  forced  to  judge  by  common  report, 
and  though  it  may  often  judge  wrongly,  it  generally  errs 
on  the  safe  side.  What  it  still  wants,  and  must  perhaps 
always  want,  is  some  check  on  the  slander  and  calumny 
which  mislead  its  judgment.  "We  want  some  tribunal 
which,  without  blasting  a  reputation,  can  call  to  account 
the  low  sneak  who  lounges  into  a  club-room,  and,  actuated 
by  pique,  whispers  into  a  friend's  ear,  "  in  strictest  confi- 
dence,'1 some  silly  slur  on  a  lady's  character,  knowing  that 
it  will  pass  from  mouth  to  mouth,  growing  bigger  and 
bigger,  and  that  it  can  never  be  traced  back  to  the  original 
utterer.  "We  want  to  put  down  those  old  maids  and 
dowagers  who  shake  their  cork-screw  ringlets  at  the  men- 
tion of  a  name,  and  look  as  if  they  knew  a  great  deal 


CALUMNY. 


69 


which  they  would  not  tell.  We  want  gossip  and  scandal 
to  be  held  a  sin,  as  it  is  already  held  bad  taste,  and  a 
higher  tone  which  shall  reject  as  inventions  the  pot-house 
stories  of  grooms  and  lacqueys,  and  receive  with  greater 
caution  the  gossip  of  the  club-room.  How  many  a  fair 
fame  of  a  virtuous  girl  is  ruined  by  the  man  she  has 
rejected;  how  many  an  Iago  lives  and  thrives  in  society  to 
the  present  day ;  how  many  a  young  man  is  blackened  by  a 
rival ;  how  many  a  man  we  meet  in  the  best  circles  whose 
chambers  are  the  scene  of  debauchery,  or  who  carries  on  an 
illicit  connexion  in  secret,  unexposed.  These  things  make 
us  bitter  to  the  world,  but,  if  we  cannot  see  the  remedy, 
we  must  endure  them  silently.  Oh  !  if  the  calumniator, 
male  or  female,  could  be  hanged  as  high  as  Haman,  if  the 
ninth  commandment,  like  the  eighth,  could  be  punished 
with  death,  many  a  hopeful  career  were  not  blighted  at  its 
outset,  many  an  innocent  woman  were  not  driven  from  her 
home  and  thrust  into  the  very  jaws  of  sin,  and  the  world 
would  be  happier  and  far  more  Christian. 

In  the  meantime  good  society  discountenances  gossip, 
and  that  is  all  it  can  do  for  the  present.  Fathers  and 
husbands  must  be  careful  whom  they  introduce  to  their 
families,  and  every  one  should  beware  how  they  repeat 
what  has  been  told  them  of  their  neighbours*.  There  is  in 
the  church  of  Walton-on-Thames  a  kind  of  iron  gag  made 
to  fit  upon  the  face,  and  bearing  this  inscription  : 

"  Thys  is  a  brydel 
For  the  women  of  Walton  who  speake  so  ydel." 

I  know  not  what  poor  creature,  blasted  by  a  venomous 
tongue,  invented  and  gave  to  the  church  this  quaint  relic ; 
J  only  wish  that  every  parish  church  had  one,  and  that 


70  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

every  slanderer  might  be  forced  to  wear  it.  One  !  did  I 
say  1  we  should  want  a  hundred  in  some  parishes,  all  in  use 
at  the  same  time. 

A  discourteous  but  well-merited  reply  which  I  heard  the 
other  day,  reminds  me  that  good  temper  is  an  essential  of 
good  society.  A  young  lady,  irritated  because  a  gentleman 
would  not  agree  with  her  on  some  matter,  lost  her  balance, 
and  irritably  exclaimed,  "  Oh,  Mr.  A — ,  you  have  only 
two  ideas  in  your  head."  "  You  are  right,"  replied  the 
gentleman,  "I  have  only  two  ideas,  and  one  of  them  is 
that  you  do  not  know  how  to  behave  yourself." 

Temper  has  a  great  deal  to  answer  for,  and  it  would 
take  a  volume  to  discuss  its  effect  on  the  affairs  of  the 
world.  It  is  a  vice  of  old  and  young  of  both  sexes,  of 
high  and  low,  even  I  may  say  of  good  and  bad,  though  a 
person  who  has  not  conquered  it  scarcely  merits  the  name 
of  good,  though  he  should  regenerate  mankind.  Monarchs 
have  lost  kingdoms,  maidens  lovers,  and  everybody  friends 
by  the  irritation  of  a  moment,  and  in  society  a  display  of 
ill-temper  is  fatal  to  harmony,  and  thus  destroys  the  first 
principle  of  social  meetings.  We  pardon  it,  we  overlook 
it,  and  sometimes  it  even  amuses  us,  but,  sooner  or  later, 
it  must  chill  back  love  and  freeze  friendship.  In  short,  it 
makes  society  unbearable,  and  is  justly  pronounced  to  be 
disgustingly  vulgar.  I  used  once  to  frequent  the  house  of 
a  man  who  had  eveiy  requisite  for  being  charming  but 
that  of  a  command  of  temper.  He  gave  dinner-parties 
which  ought  to  have  been  most  pleasant.  He  was  well- 
educated,  well-informed,  well-mannered  in  every  other  re- 
spect. The  first  time  I  dined  with  him,  before  I  had  seen 
anything  of  this  failing,  I  was  horror-struck  by  hearing' 
him  say  to  a  servant,  "  Confound  you,  will  you  take  that 


TEMPER. 


n 


dish  to  the  other  end  !"  Of  course  I  paid  no  attention, 
but  hoping  to  cover  him,  talked  loudly  and  eagerly.  It 
was  useless.  The  servant  blundered,  and  the  master  thun- 
dered, till  at  last  there  was  a  dead  silence  round  the  table, 
and  we  all  looked  down  into  our  plates.  The  mistress 
of  the  house  made  the  matter  worse  by  putting  in  at  last, 
"  My  dear  Charles,  do  be  moderate,"  and  the  irritable  man 
only  increased  the  awkwardness  by  an  irritable  reply.  I 
overlooked  this,  and  dined  there  again,  but  only  once. 
This  time  it  was  his  daughter  who  offended  by  some  inno- 
cent remark.  "  Really  you're  quite  a  fool,  Jane,"  he  said, 
turning  savagely  upon  her,  and  the  poor  girl  burst  into 
tears.  Our  appetites  were  spoiled,  our  indignation  rose, 
and  though  we  sat  through  the  dinner,  we  all  of  us  probably 
repeated  Solomon's  proverb  about  a  dry  morsel  where  love 
is,  and  a  stalled  ox  with  contention  thereby,  which  I,  for 
one,  interpreted  to  mean  that  my  chop  and  pint  of  ale  at 
home  would,  for  the  future,  be  far  more  appetitlich  than  my 
friend's  turtle  and  turbot. 

As  there  is  nothing  to  which  an  Englishman  clings  so 
tenaciously  as  his  opinions,  there  are  few  things  which 
rouse  the  temper  so  rapidly  as  an  argument.  In  good 
society  all  disputation  is  eschewed,  and  particularly  that 
which  involves  party  politics  and  sectarian  religion.  It  is 
at  least  wise  to  discover  what  are  the  views  of  your  com- 
pany before- you  venture  on  these  subjects.  Zeal,  however 
well-meant,  must,  as  St.  Paul  warns  us,  often  be  sacrificed 
to  peace ;  and  where  you  cannot  agree,  and  feel  that  to  reply 
would  lead  you  into  an  argument,  it  is  best  to  be  silent. 
At  the  same  time  there  are  some  occasions  where  silence 
is  servile.  No  man  should  sit  still  to  hear  sacred  things 
blasphemed,  or  his  Mend  abused.    The  gentleman  must 


7  2  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

yield  to  the  Man  where  an  atheist  reviles  Christianity,  a 
Chartist  abuses  the  Queen,  or  anybody  speaks  ill  of  the 
listener's  friend  or  relation.  Even  then  he  best  marks  his 
indignation  by  rising  and  leaving  the  room.  Nor  need  any 
man  fear  the  imputation  of  cowardice,  if  he  curbs  his  anger 
at  direct  abuse  of  himself.  "  A  soft  answer  turneth  away 
wrath  ;"  and  if  he  cannot  check  his  own  feelings  sufficiently 
to  reply  in  a  conciliatory  tone,  no  one  can  blame  him  if 
coolly  and  politely  he  expresses  to  his  antagonist  his  opinion 
of  his  bad  manners.  The  feeling  of  the  company  will  always 
go  with  the  man  who  keeps  his  temper,  for  not  only  does 
society  feel  that  to  vent  wrath  is  a  breach  of  its  laws,  but 
it  knows,  that  to  conquer  one's-self  is  a  far  more  difficult 
task  than  to  overcome  an  enemy ;  and  that,  therefore,  the 
man  who  keeps  his  temper  is  really  strong  and  truly 
courageous.  In  fact  the  Christian  rule  is  here  (as  it  should 
always  be)  that  of  society  ;  and  the  man  who  offers  his  left 
cheek  to  the  blow,  displays  not  only  the  rarest  Christian 
virtue,  but  the  very  finest  politeness,  which,  while  it  teems 
with  delicate  irony,  at  once  disarms  the  attacker,  and  enlists 
the  pity  and  sympathy,  if  not  the  applause,  of  the  bystanders. 
Of  course  I  speak  of  blows  metaphorically.  A  blow  with 
the  hand  is  rarely  if  ever  given  in  good  society. 

Another  case  in  which  the  Christian  and  the  social  rule 
coincide,  if  not  in  reality  at  least  in  appearance,  is  that  of 
private  animosities.  Of  the  "  cut,"  as  a  necessary  social 
weapon,  I  shall  speak  elsewhere,  but  it  now  suffices  to  say, 
that  when  given  for  the  first  time  with  a  view  to  breaking 
off  an  acquaintance,  it  should  not  be  done  conspicuously, 
nor  before  a  number  of  people.  Its  object  is  not  to  wound 
and  cause  confusion,  but  to  make  known  to  the  person 
«  cut"  that  your  feelings  towards  him  are  changed.  In 


CtJTTllfG. 


73 


good  society  no  one  ever  cuts  another  in  such  a  manner  as 
to  be  generally  remarked,  and  the  reason  is  obvious  :  It 
causes  awkwardness  and  confusion  in  the  rest  of  the  com- 
pany. It  is  worse.  Between  a  guest  and  host  the  relation 
is  supposed  to  be  friendly ;  if  not  so,  it  can  always  be 
immediately  discontinued ;  so  that  generally  the  ill-will 
must  be  between  one  guest  and  another  under  the  same 
roof.  But  what  does  it  then  amount  to  1  Is  it  not  a  slur 
upon  your  host's  judgment  ?  Is  it  not  as  much  as  to  say, 
"  This  man  is  unfit  for  me  to  know ;  and,  since  you  are  his 
friend,  you  must  be  unworthy  of  me  too  ?"  At  any  rate,  it 
is  mortifying  to  a  host  to  find  that  he  has  brought  two 
enemies  together,  and,  with  the  respect  due  from  a  guest 
to  a  host,  you  must  abstain  from  making  his  house  a  field 
of  battle.  There  is  no  occasion  for  hypocrisy.  Politeness, 
cold  and  distant  if  you  like  it,  can  cost  you  nothing,  and 
is  never  taken  to  mean  friendship.  In  short,  harmony  and 
peace  are  the  rules  of  good  society,  as  of  Christianity,  and 
its  denizens  can  and  do  throw  aside  the  most  bitter  enmities 
when  meeting  on  the  neutral  ground  of  a  friend's  house. 
Nor  is  the  armistice  without  its  value.  Like  that  between 
Austria  and  France,  it  is  not  unfrequently  followed  by 
overtures  of  peace  ;  and  I  have  known  two  people  who  had 
not  interchanged  two  words  for  a  score  of  years,  shake 
hands  before  they  left  a  house  where  they  had  been  acci- 
dentally brought  together.  Had  they  not  been  well-bred 
this  reconciliation  could  never  have  taken  place. 

The  relations  of  guest  to  guest  are  not  so  well  under- 
stood in  this  country  as  on  the  Continent.  There  your 
host's  friends  are  for  the  time  your  friends.  When  you 
enter  a  room  you  have  a  right  to  speak  to,  and  be  addressed 
by,  everybody  present.  The  friendship  of  your  host,  de- 
K 


74  (THE  SPIEIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

clared,  as  it  were,  in  his  inviting  them  there,  is  a  sufficient 
recommendation  and  introduction  to  every  one  of  his  guests. 
If  you  and  they  are  good  enough  for  him  to  invite,  you  and 
they  are  good  enough  for  each  other  to  know,  and  it  is, 
therefore,  an  insult  to  your  host  to  remain  next  to  a  person 
for  a  long  time  without  addressing  him.  In  exclusive 
England  we  require  that  our  host  or  hostess  shall  give  a 
special  introduction  to  every  guest,  but  in  the  best  society 
this  is  not  absolutely  necessary.  Exclusiveness  is  voted  to 
be  of  bad  style ;  and  two  people  who  sat  next  to  one 
another  for  a  long  time,  with  no  one  to  talk  to,  would  be 
thought  ill-bred  as  well  as  ridiculous  if  they  waited  for  the 
formal  introduction  to  exchange  a  few  words,  at  least  at  a 
party  where  conversation  was  the  mam  object. 

As  we  boast  of  English  hospitality,  it  is  a  wonder  that 
we  do  not  better  observe  the  relations  of  host  and  guest. 
On  the  Continent  any  man,  whether  you  know  him  or  not, 
who  has  crossed  your  threshold  with  friendly  intent,  is  your 
guest,  and  you  are  bound  to  treat  him  as  one.  In  England 
a  friend  must  introduce  him,  unless  he  has  the  ingenuity  of 
Theodore  Hook,  who  always  introduced  himself  where  there 
was  a  dinner  going  on,  and  managed  to  make  himself  wel- 
come, too  ;  but  among  ill-bred  people  even  this  introduction 
does  not  suffice,  and  the  vulgar  often  take  pride  to  them- 
selves in  proving  that  their  houses  are  their  castles.  A  late 
neighbour  of  mine,  of  somewhat  peppery  temper,  used  to 
tell  with  glee  how  he  had  turned  out  of  his  house  a  gentle- 
man— an  innocent  but  not  attractive  man — who  had  been 
brought  there  by  a  common  friend,  but  whom  he  did  not 
wish  to  know.  I  often  thought,  when  I  heard  the  tale 
repeated,  "  How  little  you  think  you  are  telling  a  story 
against  yourself !"    So,  too,  when  Arabella,  speaking  of 


REQUISITES  OF  GOOD  SOCIETY. 


75 


Charles,  with  whom  she  has  quarrelled,  tells  me  so  proudly, 
"  I  cut  him  last  night  dead,  and  before  the  whole  party,  to 
his  utter  confusion,"  I  whisper  to  myself,  "  He  may  richly 
have  deserved  the  punishment,  but  I  would  not  hare  been 
the  executioner."  In  fact,  whether  as  host  or  guest,  we 
must  remember  the  feelings  of  the  rest  of  the  company,  and 
that  a  show  of  animosity  between  any  of  them  always  mars 
the  sense  of  peaceful  enjoyment,  for  which  all  have  met. 
To  pick  a  quarrel,  to  turn  your  back  on  a  person,  to  cut 
him  openly,  or  to  make  audible  remarks  on  him,  are  dis- 
plays of  temper  only  found  in  vulgar  society. 

The  other  requisites  indispensable  for  good  society  will  be. 
found  in  various  chapters  of  this  work.  Confidence,  calm, 
and  good  habits,  are  treated  in  the  chapter  on  carriage. 
Good  manners  is,  more  or  less,  the  subject  of  the  whole 
book,  and  appropriate  dress,  another  indispensable,  is  dis- 
cussed under  that  head.  Accomplishments,  on  whicli  I 
have  given  a  chapter,  are  not  generally  considered  indis- 
pensable, and  certainly  a  man  or  woman  of  good  education 
and  good  breeding  could  pass  muster  without  them.  But 
they  lend  a  great  charm  to  society,  and  in  some  cases  are  a 
very  great  assistance  to  it.  Indeed,  there  are  some  accom- 
plishments an  ignorance  of  which,  may  prove  extremely 
awkward.  Perhaps,  however,  the  most  valuable  accom- 
plishment, or  rather  art,  especially  in  persons  of  full  age,  is 
that  of  making  society  easy,  and  of  entertaining.  Eules 
and  hints  for  this  will  be  given  in  various  sections,  but  I 
may  here  say  that  it  is  an  art  which  demands  no  little 
labour  and  ingenuity,  and  if  anybody  imagines  that  the 
offices  of  host  and  hostess  are  sinecures,  he  is  greatly 
mistaken.  The  great  principle  is  that  of  movement.  Ac- 
cording to  the  atomic  theory,  warmth  and  brilliance  are 


7  6  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

gained  by  the  rapidity  of  the  atoms  about  one  another. 
We  are  only  atoms  in  society  after  all,  and  we  certainly 
get  both  warmth  and  brilliance  when  we  revolve  round 
each  other  in  the  ball-room.  But  it  is  rather  mental  move- 
ment that  I  refer  to  just  now,  although  the  other  is  by  no 
means  unimportant,  and  the  host  and  hostess  should,  when 
possible,  be  continually  shifting  their  places,  easily  and 
gracefully,  talking  to  everybody  more  or  less,  and  inducing 
others  to  move.  But  there  must  be  something  for  the 
minds  of  those  assembled  to  dwell  upon ;  something  to 
suggest  thought,  and  thus  generate  conversation.  If  the 
host  or  hostess  have  themselves  the  talent,  they  should  do 
this  by  continually  leading  the  conversation,  not  after  the 
manner  of  Sydney  Smith,  who,  while  dinner  was  going 
on,  allowed  Mackintosh,  Jeffrey,  and  Stewart,  to  fall  into 
vehement  discussion,  while  he  himself  quietly  made  an 
excellent  meal,  and  prepared  for  better  things.  The  mo- 
ment the  cloth  was  removed,  which  was  done  in  those  days, 
the  jovial  wit,  happier  than  his  companions  who  had  had 
more  of  the  "  feast  of  reason  and  the  flow  of  soul"  than 
of  beef  and  mutton,  would  look  up  and  make  some  totally 
irrelevant  and  irresistible  remark,  and  having  once  raised 
the  laugh,  would  keep  an  easy  lead  of  the  conversation  to 
the  end.  But  if  they  have  not  this  art,  it  is  highly  desir- 
able that  dinner-givers  should  invite  their  regular  talker, 
who,  like  the  Roman  parasite,  in  consideration  of  a  good 
dinner,  will  always  be  ready  with  a  fresh  topic  in  case  of  a 
lull  in  the  conversation,  and  always  be  able  to  introduce  it 
with  something  smart  and  lively.  There  is  a  hotel  in  the 
city  where  a  certain  number  of  broken-down  ecclesiastics 
are  always  "  on  hand"  with  a  couple  of  sermons  in  pocket. 
If  a  clergyman  is  called  suddenly  out  of  town,  or  taken  ill 


TO  DINNER- GIVERS. 


77 


on  the  Saturday  night,  or  hindered  from  preaching  by 
any  accident,  he  has  only  to  send  down  a  messenger  and  a 
reverend  gentleman  flies  to  him  :  the  sermon  is  at  his  service 
for  the  sum  of  one  guinea,  or  less.  Would  it  not  answer  to 
institute  a  similar  establishment  for  the  benefit  of  dinner- 
givers  ?  The  only  question  the  cleric  asks  is,  "  High  or 
low?"  He  has  a  sermon  in  each  pocket,  "  high"  in  the 
right,  "  low"  in  the  left,  and  produces  the  proper  article, 
if  he  does  not-  by  mistake  forget  which  is  in  which,  and 
astound  an  evangelical  congregation  with  the  "  symbols  of 
the  Church,"  or  a  Tractarian  one  with  the  "  doctrine  of 
election."  In  the  same  way,  the  conviva  would  be  always 
ready,  in  full  dress,  at  six  in  the  evening,  and  having 
put  the  question,  "  Serious  or  gay,  "Whig  or  Tory1?"  bring 
out  his  witticisms  accordingly.  We  do  everything  now-a- 
days  with  money.  Mr.  Harker  gives  out  our  toasts,  our 
servants  carve  and  give  out  the  wine  for  us.  The  host  sits 
at  the  head  or  side  of  his  table,  and  only  smiles  and  talks. 
The  next  generation  will  make  a  further  improvement,  and 
the  host  will  hire  a  gentleman  to  do  even  the  smiling  and 
talking,  or,  like  the  Emperor  Augustus,  he  will  just  look  in 
on  his  guests  at  the  middle  of  dinner,  ask  if  the  entremets 
are  good,  and  go  to  his  easy-chair  again  in  the  library.  Of 
the  art  of  entertaining  on  various  occasions  I  shall  treat 
under  the  proper  heads,  and  we  come  now  to  the  dispens- 
ables  of  good  society,  which  I  take  to  be  wealth,  rank, 
birth,  and  talent. 

Of  birth  there  is  little  to  say,  because,  if  a  man  is  fit  for 
good  society,  it  can  make  very  little  difference  whether  his 
father  were  a  chimney-sweep  or  a  chancellor,  at  least  to 
sensible  people.  Indeed,  to  insist  on  good  birth  in  England 
would  not  only  shut  you  out  from  enjoying  the  society  of 


78 


THE  SPIEIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


people  of  no  ordinary  stamp,  but  is  now  generally  considered 
as  a  cowardly  way  of  asserting  your  superiority.  A  young 
lady  said  to  me  the  other  day,  "  I  wonder  you  can  visit  the 
O.'s  ;  their  mother  was  a  cook."  "  Well,"  said  I,  "  it 
is  evident  she  did  not  bring  them  up  in  the  kitchen." 
My  interlocutrix  wore  the  name  of  a  celebrated  poet,  and 
was  of  one  of  the  oldest  families  in  England,  but  I  confess 
that  I  thought  her  remark  that  of  a  snob,  the  more  so  as 
the  O.'s  happened  to  be  the  most  agreeable  people  I  knew. 

The  advantages  of  wealth  are  considerable  in  the  forma- 
tion of  society.  In  this  country,  where  hospitality  means 
eating  and  drinking,  it  demands  money  to  receive  your 
friends  ;  and  in  London,  where  a  lady  can  with  difficulty 
walk  in  the  streets  unaccompanied,  a  carriage  of  some  sort, 
in  which  to  visit  them,  becomes  almost  a  necessity  if  you  are 
to  mix  much  in  the  world.  But  good  society  would  be  very 
limited  if  every  man  required  his  brougham  or  cabriolet. 
In  the  metropolis,  again,  a  man-servant  is  almost  indispens- 
able, though  not  quite  ;  and  if  you  have  the  moral  courage 
to  do  without  one  you  will  find  that  your  small  dinners — 
always  better  than  large  ones — will  be  more  quietly  served 
by  women  than  by  men.  Londoners  have  still  to  learn  that 
large  pompous  "  feedings  "  are  neither  agreeable  nor  in  good 
taste,  and  that  evening  meetings,  for  the  purpose  of  con- 
versation, with  as  little  ceremony  as  possible,  are  far  less 
tedious,  less  bilious,  and  less  expensive. 

They  do  these  things  better  in  Paris,  where  the  dinner- 
party is  an  introduction  of  the  nouveaux  riches.  There  the 
£300  a  year  does  not  exclude  its  owners  from  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  best,  even  the  highest  society.  They  may  be 
asked  to  every  ball  and  dinner  of  the  season,  and  are 
not  expected  to  return  them.    A  voiture  de  remise  is  good 


TVfTl'R'F!  WEALTH. 


79 


enough  to  take  them  even  to  the  Tuileries.  The  size  of 
their  apartment  is  no  obstacle  to  their  assembling  their 
friends  simply  for  tea  and  conversation.  If  the  rooms  are 
elegantly  furnished  and  arranged,  and  the  lady  of  the  house 
understands  the  art  of  receiving,  and  selects  her  guests 
rather  for  their  manners  and  conversational  powers  than 
for  position  or  wealth,  their  receptions  may  become  fashion- 
able at  no  further  expense  than  that  of  a  few  simple  refresh- 
ments which  are  handed  about.  Even  dances  are  given 
without  suppers,  and  no  one  cares  whether  your  household 
consists  of  a  dozen  lacqueys  or  a  couple  of  maid-servants. 

"  Mere  wealth,"  says  Mr.  Hayward,  truly  enough,  "  can 
do  little,  unless  it  be  of  magnitude  sufficient  to  constitute 
celebrity."  He  might  have  added,  that  wealth,  without 
breeding,  generally  draws  the  attention  of  others  to  the  want 
of  taste  of  its  possessor,  and  gives  envy  an  object  to  sneer 
at.  I  remember  an  instance  of  this  in  a  woman  who  had 
recently,  with  her  husband,  returned  from  Australia,  with 
a  large  fortune.  I  met  her  at  a  ball  in  Paris  :  she  was 
magnificently,  almost  regally  dressed,  and  as  she  swept 
through  the  rooms  people  whispered,  "  That  is  the  rich 

Mrs.  ."    I  had  not  been  introduced  to  her,  and  had 

no  desire  to  be  so,  but  I  could  not  escape  her  vulgarity. 
On  going  to  fetch  a  cup  of  chocolate  from  the  buffet  for 

my  partner,  I  had  to  pass  within  a  yard  of  Mrs.  ,  who 

was  gorging  ices  amid  a  crowd  of  rather  inferior  French- 
men ;  there  was  not  the  slightest  fear  of  my  spilling  the 
chocolate,  and  I  was  too  far  from  her  to  spoil  her  dress, 
had  I  been  awkward  enough  to  do  so  ;  but  as  I  passed  back, 
she  suddenly  screamed  out,  in  very  bad  French,  "  Monsieur, 
Monsieur,  quoi  faites-vous,  vous  gatery  mon  robe  ! "  Of 
course  everybody  looked  round,  I  bowed  low,  and  begged  her 


80  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

pardon,  assuring  her  that  there  was  not  the  slightest  cause  for 
alarm ;  but  she  was  not  satisfied,  and  while  I  beat  a  retreat 
I  heard  her  loud  voice  denouncing  me  as  a  "  stupid  fellow," 
and  so  forth,  and  I  soon  found  that  Mrs.   was  pro- 
nounced to  be  "atrociously  vulgar"  as  well  as  immensely  rich. 

I  cannot  think  that  rank  is  a  recommendation  to  a  man 
with  any  but  vulgar  people.  Not  every  nobleman  is  a 
gentleman,  and  fewer  still  perhaps  bear  that  character  that 
would  entitle  them  to  a  free  entree  among  the  well-bred. 
On  the  other  hand,  rank  is  a  costly  robe,  which  must  be 
worn  as  modestly  as  possible,  not  to  spoil  that  feeling  of 
equality  which  is  necessary  to  the  ease  of  society.  Some 
deference  must  be  paid  to  it,  and  the  man  of  rank  who 
cannot  forget  it,  will  find  himself  as  much  in  the  way  in  a 
party  of  untitled  people,  as  an  elephant  among  a  troop  of 
jackals.  If  titles  were  as  common  in  England  as  on  the 
Continent,  there  would  be  less  fear  of  a  host  devoting  him- 
self to  My  Lord  to  the  neglect  of  his  other  guests,  or  of 
those  guests  centering  their  attention  on  the  one  star.  In 
Paris,  it  is  only  in  the  vulgar  circles  of  the  Chaussee 
d'Autin,  that  "  Monsieur  le  Comte,"  or  "  Monsieur  le  Mar- 
quis," is  shown  off  as  a  lion  ;  and  in  the  well-bred  circles 
in  this  country,  the  nobleman  must  be  content  with  prece- 
dence, and  the  place  of  honour,  and  for  the  rest  be  as  one 
of  the  company.  In  Southern  G-ermany,  the  distinction  is 
the  other  way ;  the  simple  Herr  is  almost  as  remarkable  as 
the  man  of  title  in  England.  In  fact,  everybody  admitted 
to  what  is  there  called  good  society,  has  some  title,  whether 
by  birth  or  office  ;  and  a  man  must  be  highly  distinguished 
by  talents  or  achievements  to  have  the  entree  of  the  Court. 
I  found  that  the  Esquire  after  my  name  was  generally 
translated  by  Baron ;  the  tradesmen  raised  it  to  Graf,  or 


THE  LIOX. 


81 


Count ;  and  people  who  "  knew  all  about  it,"  called  me 
"  Herr  Esquire  von  ."  Something  in  the  same  way- 
are  military  titles  allotted  to  civilians  in  some  parts  of 
America.  A  store-keeper  becomes  "  Major  \ "  a  merchant, 
"  Colonel and  a  man  of  whom  you  are  to  ask  a  favour, 
is  always  a  "  General." 

JSTothing  can  be  more  ill-judged  than  lion-hunting.  If 
the  premiss  with  which  I  set  out,  that  society  requires  real 
or  apparent  equality,  be  true,  anything  which  raises  a  per- 
son on  a  pedestal  unfits  him  for  society.  The  men  of 
genius  are  rarely  gifted  with  social  qualities,  and  the  only 
society  suited  to  them  is  that  of  others  of  the  same  calibre. 
If  Shakspere  were  alive,  and  I  acquainted  with  him,  I 
would  not  ask  him  to  an  evening  party  \  or,  if  I  did  so,  it 
should  be  with  huge  Ben,  and  half-a-dozen  more  from  the 
"  Mermaid,"  and  thev.  should  have  strict  injunctions  not  to 
engross  the  conversation.  If  you  must  have  a  literary  lion 
at  your  receptions,  you  should  manage  to  have  two  or  three, 
for  you  may  be  sure  that  they  will  behave  less  arrogantly 
in  one  another's  presence  ;  or  perhaps  a  better  plan  still,  is 
to  invite  a  score  of  critics  to  meet  him  ;  you  will  then  find 
your  show  beast  as  tractable  and  as  quiet  as  his  name-sake 
in  the  caresses  of  Van  Amburgh  or  Wombwell.  The  man 
of  science  again,  has  too  lofty  a  range  of  thought  to  de- 
scend to  the  ordinary  topics  of  society ;  and  the  bishop  and 
distinguished  general  usually  bear  about  with  them  the 
marks  of  their  profession,  which,  for  perfect  ease  and 
equality,  should  be  concealed.  Distinguished  foreigners, 
if  they  are  clean,  and  can  talk  English  well,  may  be  very 
agreeable,  but  your  guests  will  often  suspect  them,  and 
their  names  must  be  known  in  England  to  make  them 
desirable  in  any  point  of  view. 

L 


82 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


Of  rank  and  distinction,  however,  it  may  be  said,  in 
preference  to  wealth  and  mere  birth,  that  they  are,  when 
seconded  by  character,  absolute  passports  to  good  society. 
A  title  is  presumed  to  be  a  certificate  of  education  and 
good  breeding,  while  a  celebrity  will  often  be  pardoned  for 
the  want  of  both,  in  virtue  of  the  talents  and  perseverance 
by  which  he  has  raised  himself.  Of  the  two,  the  latter 
excuses  more  our  adulation.  Rank  is  rarely  gained  by 
merit,  and  when  it  is  so,  it  is  swamped  by  it.  Macaulay 
and  Brougham  have  not  gained  a  single  step  in  the  estima- 
tion of  well-bred  people  by  being  raised  to  the  peerage,  and 
no  one  would  hesitate  for  a  moment  between  them  and  the 
untitled  son  of  a  Duke  or  Marquis.  While,  too,  we  natu- 
rally fear  the  epithet  of  "  toady,"  if  we  cultivate  noblemen 
only  for  the  sake  of  their  rank,  we  may  well  defend  our- 
selves for  the  admiration  which  genius,  perseverance,  and 
courage  excite.  To  women,  again,  distinction  is  less  trying, 
since  it  takes  them  less  out  of  their  ordinary  sphere.  They 
are  still  women,  still  capable  of  enjoying  society,  with  two 
exceptions,  the  blue-stocking  and  the  esprit  fort,  neither  of 
which  should  ever  be  admitted  into  good  society. 

But  while  genius  is  scarcely  a  recommendation  in  social 
meetings,  there  are  mental  qualities  nearly  allied  to  it, 
which  are  the  best  we  can  bring  to  them  ;  I  mean  a  think- 
ing mind  and  a  ready  wit.  The  most  agreeable  men  and 
women  are  those  who  think  out  of  society  as  well  as  in  it ; 
those  who  have  mind  without  affectation,  and  talents  with- 
out conceit ;  those  who  have  formed,  and  can  form  fresh 
opinions  on  every  subject,  and  to  whom  a  mere  word  serves 
as  the  springing-board  from  which  to  rise  to  new  trains  of 
thought.  Where  people  of  this  kind  meet  together,  the 
commonest  subjects  become  matters  of  interest,  and  the  con- 


DEFINITION  OF  GOOD  SOCIETY. 


S3 


versation  grows  rapidly  to  brilliance,  even  without  positive 
wit.  The  man  to  whose  mind  everything  is  a  suggestion, 
and  whose  words  suggest  something  to  everybody,  is  the 
best  man  for  a  social  meeting. 

We  have  now  seen  what  are,  and  what  are  not  the  requi- 
sites for  good  society.  High  moral  character,  a  polished 
education,  a  perfect  command  of  temper,  good  breeding, 
delicate  feeling,  good  manners,  good  habits,  and  a  good 
bearing,  are  indispensable.  Wit,  accomplishments,  and 
social  talents,  are  great  advantages,  though  not  absolutely 
necessary.  On  the  other  hand,  birth  is  lost  sight  of,  while 
wealth,  rank,  and  distinction,  so  far  from  being  desirable, 
must  be  carefully  handled,  not  to  be  positively  objection- 
able. We  are  now  therefore  enabled  to  offer  a  definition  of 
good  society.  It  is,  the  meeting  on  a  footing  of  equality, 
and  for  the  purpose  of  mutual  entertainment,  of  men,  of 
women,  or  men  and  women  together,  of  good  character, 
good  education,  and  good  breeding. 

But  what  is  the  real  spirit  of  the  observances  which  this 
society  requires  of  its  frequenters  for  the  preservation  of 
harmony  and  the  easy  intercourse  of  all  of  them  1  Cer- 
tainly, one  may  have  a  spotless  reputation,  a  good  educa- 
tion, and  good  breeding,  without  being  either  good  in 
reality,  or  a  Christian.  But  if  we  examine  the  laws  which 
good  society  lays  down  for  our  guidance  and  governance, 
we  shall  find,  without  a  doubt,  that  they  are  those  which  a 
simple  Christian,  desiring  to  regulate  the  meetings  of  a 
number  of  people  who  lacked  the  Christian  feeling,  would 
dictate.  I  am,  of  course,  quite  aware  that  good  society 
will  never  make  you  a  Christian.  You  may  be  charming 
in  a  party,  and  every  one  may  pronounce  you  a  perfect  and 
agreeable  gentleman ;  but  you  may  go  home  and  get 


84 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


privately  intoxicated,  or  beat  your  wife,  or  be  cruel  to  your 
children.  If  society  finds  you  out,  be  sure  it  will  punish 
you ;  but  society  has  no  right  to  search  your  house,  and  in- 
trude upon  your  hearth,  and,  as  you  say,  it  may  be  long  be- 
fore it  finds  you  out.  But,  as  far  its  as  jurisdiction  extends, 
good  society  can  compel  you,  if  not  to  be  a  Christian,  at 
least  to  act  like  one.  The  difference  between  the  laws  of  God 
and  the  laws  of  men,  is,  that  the  former  address  the  heart 
from  which  the  acts  proceed,  the  latter,  which  can  only  judge 
from  what  they  see,  determine  the  acts  without  regard  to 
the  heart.    The  one  waters  the  root,  the  other  the  branches. 

The  laws  of  society  are  framed  by  the  unanimous  con- 
sent of  men,  and,  in  all  essential  points,  they  differ  very 
little  all  over  the  world.  The  Turk  may  show  his  polite- 
ness by  feeding  you  with  his  fingers,  the  Englishman  by 
carving  your  portion  for  you  ;  but  the  same  spirit  dictates 
both — the  spirit  of  friendliness,  of  goodwill.  Thus,  though 
the  laws  of  society  are  necessarily  imperfect,  are  moulded  by 
traditional  and  local  custom,  and  are  addressed  to  the  outer 
rather  than  the  inner  man,  their  spirit  is  invariably  the 
same.  The  considerations  which  dictate  them  are  reducible 
to  the  same  law,  and  this  law  proves  to  be  the  fundamental 
one  of  Christian  doctrine.  Thus,  what  the  heathen  arrives 
at  only  by  laws  framed  for  the  comfort  of  society,  we  pos- 
sess at  once  in  virtue  of  our  religion.  And  it  is  a  great 
glory  for  a  Christian  to  be  able  to  say,  that  all  refinement 
and  all  civilisation  lead  men — as  far  as  their  conversation 
is  concerned — to  the  practice  of  Christianity.  It  is  a  great 
satisfaction  to  feel  that  Christianity  is  eminently  the  religion 
of  civilisation  and  society. 

The  great  law  which  distinguishes  Christianity  from  every 
other  creed,  that  of  brotherly  love  and  self-denial,  is  esseu- 


CHRISTIANITY  AND  SOCIETY. 


85 


tially  the  law  which  we  find  at  the  basis  of  all  social  obser- 
vances. The  first  maxim  of  politeness  is  to  be  agreeable 
to  everybody,  even  at  the  expense  of  one's  own  comfort. 
Meekness  is  the  most  beautiful  virtue  of  the  Christian ; 
modesty  the  most  commendable  in  a  well-bred  man.  Peace 
is  the  object  of  Christian  laws  ;  harmony  that  of  social 
observances.  Self-denial  is  the  exercise  of  the  Christian; 
forgetfulness  of  self  that  of  the  wTell-bred.  Trust  in  one 
another  unites  Christian  communities ;  confidence  in  the 
good  intentions  of  our  neighbours  is  that  which  makes  so- 
ciety possible.  To  be  kind  to  one  another  is  the  object  of 
Christian  converse  ;  to  entertain  one  another,  that  of  social 
intercourse.  Pride,  selfishness,  ill-temper,  are  alike  opposed 
to  Christianity  and  good-breeding.  The  one  demands  an 
upright  life  ;  the  other  requires  the  appearance  of  it.  The 
one  bids  us  make  the  most  of  God's  gifts  and  improve  our 
talents  ;  the  other  will  not  admit  us  till  we  have  done  so  by 
education.  And  to  go  a  step  farther  ;  as  a  Christian  com- 
munity excludes  sinners  and  unbelievers  from  its  gatherings, 
so  a  social  community  excludes  from  its  meetings  those  of 
bad  character,  and  those  who  do  not  subscribe  to  its  laws. 

But  society  goes  farther,  and  appears  to  impose  on  its 
members  a  number  of  arbitrary  rules,  which  continually 
restrict  them  in  their  actions.  It  tells  them  how  they  must 
eat  and  drink  and  dress,  and  walk  and  talk,  and  so  on. 
We  ought  to  be  very  thankful  to  society  for  taking  so  much 
trouble,  and  saving  us  so  much  doubt  and  confusion.  But 
if  the  ordinances  of  society  are  examined,  it  will  be  found 
that  while  many  of  them  are  merely  derived  from  custom 
and  tradition,  and  some  have  no  positive  value,  they  all 
tend  to  one  end,  the  preservation  of  harmony,  and  the  pre- 
vention of  one  person  from  usurping  the  rights,  or  intruding 


86  THE  SPIRIT  OP  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

on  the  province  of  another.  If  it  regulates  your  dress,  it 
is  that  there  may  be  an  appearance  of  equality  in  all,  and 
that  the  rich  may  not  be  able  to  flaunt  their  wealth  in  the 
eyes  of  their  poorer  associates.  If,  for  instance,  it  says  that 
you  are  not  to  wear  diamonds  in  the  morning,  it  puts  a 
check  upon  your  vanity.  If  it  says  you  may  wear  them  on 
certain  occasions,  it  does  not  compel  those  who  have  none 
to  purchase  them.  If  society  says  you  shall  eat  with  a 
knife  and  fork,  it  is  not  because  fingers  were  not  made 
before  forks,  but  because  it  is  well  known  that  if  you  were 
to  use  the  natural  fork  of  five  prongs  instead  of  the  plated 
one  of  four,  you  would  want  to  wash  your  hands  after  every 
dish.  If  she  goes  farther  and  says  you  shall  not  put  your 
knife  into  your  mouth,  it  is  because  she  supposes  that  you, 
like  ninety-nine  out  of  every  hundred  of  civilized  beings,  can 
taste  the  steel  when  you  do  so,  and  is  surprised  at  your  bad 
taste,  and  since  she  demands  good  taste  she  cannot  think 
you  fit  for  her  court.  Of  course,  she  cannot  stop  to  hear 
you  explain  that  you  find  a  particular  enjoyment  in  the  taste 
of  steel,  and  that  therefore  on  your  part  it  is  good  not  bad 
taste.  She  is  by  necessity  forced  to  judge  from  appearance. 
If  again  she  forbids  you  to  swing  your  arms  in  walking, 
like  the  sails  of  a  windmill,  it  is  not  because  she  finds  any 
pleasure  in  pinioning  you,  but  because  beauty  is  a  result  of 
harmony,  which  is  her  first  law,  and  she  studies  beauty, 
adopts  the  beautiful,  and  rejects  the  inelegant.  That  motion 
of  the  arms  is  not  lovely,  confess  it.  Society  is  quite  right 
to  object  to  it.  Once  more,  if  she  dubs  you  vulgar  for 
speaking  in  a  loud  harsh  voice,  it  is  because  whatever  be 
your  case,  other  people  have  nerves  which  may  be  touched 
and  heads  which  can  ache,  and  your  stentorian  tones  set 
the  one  vibrating  and  the  other  throbbing.    In  short,  while 


PATEEF  A  TVTTTiT  A  S. 


87 


she  may  have  many  an  old  law  that  needs  repealing,  you 
will  find  that  the  greater  number  of  her  enactments  are 
founded  on  very  good  and  very  Christian  considerations. 
You  will  find  that  the  more  religious  a  man  is,  the  more 
polite  he  will  spontaneously  become,  and  that  too  in  every 
rank  of  life,  for  true  religion  teaches  him  to  forget  himself, 
to  love  his  neighbour,  and  to  be  kindly  even  to  his  enemy, 
and  the  appearance  of  so  being  and  doing,  is  what  society 
demands  as  good  manners.  How  can  it  ask  more  1  How 
can  it  rip  open  your  heart  and  see  if  with  your  bland  smile 
and  oily  voice  you  are  a  liar  and  a  hypocrite  ?  There  is 
One  who  has  this  power — forget  it  not ! — but  society  must 
be  content  with  the  semblance.  By  your  works  men  do 
and  must  judge  you. 

Before  I  quit  the  demands  of  society,  I  must  say  a  few 
words  on  the  distinction  she  makes  between  people  of  differ- 
ent ages  and  different  domestic  positions  •  to  wit,  how  she 
has  one  law  for  the  bachelor,  another  for  the  benedict ;  one 
for  the  maid,  another  for  the  matron  ;  one  law,  I  mean,  to 
regulate  their  privileges  and  to  restrict  their  vagaries. 

Let  us  begin  with  that  awful,  stately,  and  majestic  being, 
Paterfamilias  Anglicanus )  the  same  who,  having  reached  the 
age  of  perpetual  snow,  exacts  our  reverence  and  receives  our 
awe  ;  the  same  who,  finding  his  majesty  lost  on  the  vagabond 
Italian  with  the  monkey  and  organ,  resolves  to  crush  him 
in  a  column  of  The  Times;  the  same  before  whom  not 
Mamma  herself  dares  open  that  same  newspaper  j  the  same 
who  warns  her  against  encouraging  the  French  count,  for 
whom  Mary  Anne  has  taken  such  a  liking, — who  pooh-poohs 
the  idea  of  a  watering-place  in  summer,  who  frowns  over 
the  weekly  bills,  and  talks  of  bankruptcy  and  ruin  over  the 
milliner's  little  account,  who  is  Mamma's  excuse  with  the 


88  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  .OBSERVANCES. 

sons,  the  daughters,  and  the  servants — "  your  papa  wishes 
it,"  she  says,  and  there  is  not  a  word  more, — who  with  a 
mistaken  dignity  raises  up  an  impassable  barrier  between 
himself  and  his  children,  chilling  back  their  tenderest  ad- 
vances, receiving  their  evening  kiss  as  a  cold  formality,  and 
who,  ah  !  human  heart !  when  one  of  them  is  laid  low, 
steals  to  the  chamber  of  death  privily  and  ashamed  of  his 
grief,  turns  down  the  ghastly  sheet,  and  burying  his  head 
there  pours  out  the  only  tears  he  has  shed  for  so  many 
a  year.  Poor  father  !  bitter,  bitter  is  the  self-reproach  over 
that  cold  form  now.  What  avails  now  the  stern  veto  that 
bade  her  reject  the  handsome  lover  who  had  so  poor  a  for- 
tune, and  broke — ay  broke  her  heart  that  beats  no  more  ? 
Of  what  use  was  that  cold  severity  which  drove  him  to 
sea,  who  lies  there  now  past  all  recal  1  Ah  !  stern,  hard, 
cold  father  ;  so  they  thought  you,  so  you  seemed,  and  yet 
you  meant  it  for  the  best,  and  you  say  you  loved  your  children 
too  well.  Well,  well,  it  is  not  all  fathers  who  are  like 
this.  There  is  another  species  of  the  genus  Paterfamilias 
Anglicanus,  who  is  jovial,  and  merry,  and  blithe  by  his  fire- 
side, whose  children  nestle  round  his  knees,  and  who  has  a 
kiss  and  a  word,  and  a  kind  soft  smile  for  each. 

But  what  is  the  position  of  Paterfamilias  in  society  ? 
Where  is  his  place  %  Certainly  not  in  the  ball-room.  If 
he  comes  there,  he  must  throw  aside  his  dignity,  and  delight 
in  the  pleasure  of  the  young.  He  must  be  young  himself. 
In  his  own  house  he  must  receive  all  comers  merrily — the 
hal  foldtre  is  to  be  a  scene  of  mirth  ;  he  must  not  damp 
your  gaiety  with  his  solemn  gravity.  He  is  as  little  missed 
from  his  wife's  ball-room,  as  a  mute  from  a  wedding  pro- 
cession j  and  yet  he  must  be  there  to  talk  to  chaperons,  to 
amuse  the  elderly  beaux,  and,  if  necessary,  to  spread  the 


THE  MATRON. 


89 


card-table  and  form  the  rubber.  At  all  events,  lie  never 
dances  unless  to  make  up  a  set  in  a  quadrille.  He  is  still 
less  at  home  in  the  pic-nic,  the  matinee,  and  the  fete,  but 
he  is  great  at  the  evening  party,  and  all-important  at  the 
dinner.  But  even  here  there  is  a  dignity  proper  to  Pater- 
familias, which,  while  it  should  avoid  stateliness,  should 
scarcely  descend  to  hilarity.  He  must  not  be  a  loud 
laugher  or  an  inveterate  talker.  He  is  seen  in  his  most 
trying  light  in  his  conduct  to  the  young.  While  we  excuse 
his  antique  fashion,  which  rather  becomes  him,  and  would 
laugh  to  see  him  in  the  latest  mode  of  the  day,  while  we 
are  pleased  with  his  old-fashioned  courtesy,  and  would  not 
have  him  talk  slang  or  lounge  on  the  sofa,  we  expect  from 
him  some  consideration  for  the  changes  that  have  taken 
place  since  he  courted  his  worthy  spouse.  Paterfamilias  is 
too  apt  to  insist  that  the  manners  and  fashions  of  his  spring 
were  better  than  those  of  his  winter  are.  He  should  be 
smiling  to  young  women,  and  even  a  little  gallant,  and  he 
should  rejoice  in  their  youthful  mirth.  But  too  often  he 
is  tempted  to  set  down  his  younger  brethren,  too  often  he 
is  a  damper,  and  wished  away.  The  dignity  of  Paterfa- 
milias should  never  interfere  with  the  ease,  though  it  may 
well  check  the  impudence  of  youth. 

The  Matron  is  tender  to  her  own.  How  much  I  wish 
she  was  as  tender  to  the  pride  of  others.  But  one  hen  will 
always  kill  another's  chickens  if  she  has  the  opportunity, 
and  Mrs.  Jones  will  always  pick  to  pieces  Mrs.  Brown's 
daughters.  The  Matron  has  many  more  social  duties  than 
Paterfamilias.  It  is  she  who  arranges  everything ;  who  selects 
the  guests ;  who,  with  her  daughter's  pen,  invites  them ;  who 
receives  their  visits ;  who  looks  after  their  comforts ;  who,  by 
her  active  attentions,  keeps  up  the  circulation  in  evening 
•  M 


90  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

parties  ;  who  orders  dinner,  and  distributes  the  guests  at  it ; 
who  introduces  partners  at  balls  with  her  daughter's  assist- 
ance ;  who  engages  the  chaperons  ;  who  herself  must  go, 
willing  or  not,  to  look  after  her  Ada  and  her  Edith  at  the 
ball,  and  sit  unmurmuring  to  the  end  of  the  dance.  But 
she  is  well  repaid  by  their  pleasure,  and  when  Ada  talks  of 
the  captain's  attentions,  and  Edith  tells  her  what  the  curate 
whispered,  she  is  perfectly  happy.  The  matron  without 
children  is  a  woman  out  of  her  sphere,  and  until  her  children 
are  grown  up,  she  is  a  young  married  woman,  and  not  a 
matron.  It  is  only  when  Ada  "  comes  out"  that  her  office 
commences.  She  must  then  in  society  be  an  appendage  to 
her  daughter,  and  forget  herself.  But  in  the  evening-party 
and  the  dinner-party  she  takes  a  higher  place,  and  in  fact 
the  highest,  and  whether  as  guest  or  host,  it  is  to  her  that 
the  most  respect  is  shown  ;  she  has  a  right  to  it,  and  it  is 
her  duty  to  keep  it  up.  Still  the  matron  appears  more  in 
her  relation  to  her  children  than  any  other  position,  and 
in  this  her  place  in  society  is  one  that  demands  care. 
Great  as  her  pride  may  be  in  her  family,  she  has  no  right 
to  be  continually  asserting  their  superiority  to  all  other 
young  people.  This  is  particularly  remarkable  in  her  treat- 
ment of  her  grown-up  sons ;  and  a  mother  should  remember 
that  when  fully  fledged,  the  young  birds  can  take  care  of 
themselves.  She  has  no  right  to  tie  them  to  her  apron- 
string,  and  her  fondness  becomes  foolish  when  she  fears  that 
poor  Charles  will  catch  cold  at  eight-and-twenty,  or  shrieks 
after  James,  because  he  will  stroll  away  to  his  club.  But 
when  she  assumes  the  dress  and  airs  of  youth,  she  becomes 
ridiculous.  When  once  she  has  daughters  presentable,  she 
must  forget  to  shine  herself ;  she  should  never,  even  if  a 
widow,  risk  being  her  daughter's  rival,  and  her  conduct 


MARRIED  WOMEN. 


91 


to  young  men  must  be  that  of  a  mother,  rather  than  of  a 
friend. 

Tt  is  very  different  in  France,  where  the  married  woman 
is  par  excellence  the  woman  of  society,  no  matter  what  her 
age.  But  in  England,  the  bearing  of  the  married  woman 
with  grown-up  children  must  be  the  calm  dignity  and  affa- 
bility of  the  matron.  The  French  have  a  proverb,  "  Faire 
la  cour  a  la  mere  pour  avoir  la  fiUef  and  I  should  strongly 
recommend  the  young  man  who  wishes  to  succeed  with  a 
damsel,  to  show  particular  attentions  to  her  mamma,  A 
mother  indeed  does  not  expect  you  to  leave  her  daughter's 
side  in  order  to  talk  to  her ;  but  be  sure  that  such  an  act  gains 
you  much  more  goodwill  than  all  the  pretty  speeches  you 
could  have  made  in  that  time  to  the  daughter.  And  it  is 
only  kind  too.  As  I  have  said,  the  mother's  and  chaperon's 
position  is  secondary  when  the  daughter  or  protegee  is  pre- 
sent, at  least  in  England ;  but  a  good-natured  man  will  take 
care  that  she  does  not  feel  it  to  be  so.  A  good  girl  is  always 
pleased  to  see  proper  respect  and  attention  shown  to  her 
mother  ;  and  when  at  breakfast  the  next  morning,  mamma 
says,  "  My  dear,  I  like  Mr.  J  ones  very  much  ;  he  is  a  well- 
bred  and  agreeable  young  man ;  I  recommend  you  to  cul- 
tivate him."  And  when  Arabella  exclaims,  "  Oh,  mamma, 
the  idea  !  Mr.  Jones  indeed !"  you  may  be  sure  the  maternal 
praise  is  not  lost  upon  her,  and  the  idea  is  precisely  one 
that  she  will  allow  to  return  to  her  mind.  One  of  the  most 
fattening  dishes  on  which  Master  Cupid  feeds,  is  that  same 
praise  bestowed  by  others.  But  whether  you  have  an  eye 
to  Arabella  or  not,  the  chaperon  ought  not  to  be  neglected. 

Now,  what  part  young  Benedict  shall  take  in  society 
depends  on  his  young  wife.  If  she  be  wise,  she  will  not 
fret  when  he  dances  with  pretty  girls,  and  if  he  be  kind  he 


92  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

will  not  let  the  dance  lead  him  into  a  flirtation.  But  Bene- 
dict may  go  everywhere,  and  need  not  sigh  over  the  days 
of  his  celibacy.  Only  he  must  remember,  that  while  he  has 
gained  some  privileges,  he  has  lost  others.  In  the  meetings 
of  the  young,  for  instance,  he  is  less  wanted  than  Ccelebs^ 
while,  since  he  cannot  be  invited  without  his  wife,  he  can  no 
longer  expect  to  fill  the  odd  seat  at  dinner.  On  the  other 
hand,  he  takes  precedence  of  the  bachelor,  and  is  naturally 
a  man  of  more  weight,  so  that  when  he  has  passed  his  head 
under  the  yoke,  he  must  be  calmer,  more  sober,  less  frivo- 
lous, though  not  less  lively  than  he  was  in  the  old  "  cham- 
bers" days.  A  great  deal  is  forgiven  to  Ocelebs  on  account 
of  his  position.  If  he  talks  nonsense  occasionally,  it  is  his 
high  spirits  ;  if  he  dances  incessantly  the  whole  evening,  it 
is  that  he  may  please  "  those  dear  girls  ;"  if  he  dresses  au 
'point  de  vice  now  and  then,  he  is  Claudio  in  love,  lying 
sleepless  for  the  night,  "  carving  out  a  new  doublet ; "  if  he 
hurries  to  the  drawing-room  after  dinner,  or  is  marked  in 
his  attentions  to  ladies,  he  is  only  on  his  promotion  ;  and 
if  he  has  a  few  fast  lounging  habits,  "  it  is  all  very  well  for 
the  boys,"  says  Paterfamilias,  and  in  short,  "  a  young  fellow 
like  that"  may  do  a  thousand  things  that  Benedict  the 
married  man  must  abstain  from.  Greater  than  any  change, 
however,  is  that  of  his  relations  to  his  own  sex.  Some 
married  men  throw  all  their  bachelor  friends  overboard, 
when  they  take  that  fair  cargo  for  which  they  have  been 
sighing  so  long ;  but  I  would  not  be  one  of  such  a  man's 
friends.  At  the  same  time,  I  must  expect  to  see  less  of 
Benedict  than  before.  "  Adieu  the  petit  souper,"  he  mur- 
murs, "  the  flying  corks,  the  chorused  song,  the  trips  to 
Richmond  and  Greenwich,  the  high  dog-cart,  and  the  seat 
on  the  box  of  my  friend's  drag  !   Adieu  the  fragrant  weed, 


THE  BACHELOK. 


03 


the  cracking  hunting-whip,  the  merry  bachelor-dinner,  and 
the  late  hours  !  Shall  I  sigh  over  them  1  No,  indeed !  Mrs. 
Jones  is  not  only  an  ample  compensation  for  such  gaieties, 
but  I  am  thankful  to  her  for  keeping  me  from  them. 
Why,  that  little  baby-face  of  hers,  that  pouts  so  prettily 
for  a  kiss  when  I  come  home,  is  worth  a  hundred  dozens  of 
champagnes,  a  thousand  boxes  of  Hudson's  best,  and  a  score 
of  the  longest  runs  after  reynard  we  ever  had."  Yes,  Be- 
nedict, I  envy  thee,  and  if  Beatrice  be  wise,  she  will  not 
draw  the  reins  too  tight  all  at  once  ;  and  whatever  she  may 
say  to  hunting,  she  will  see  no  harm  in  a  mild  Havana  and 
a  couple  of  bachelor  friends  to  dinner  now  and  then.  But 
Benedict  has  not  only  changed  his  manner  and  his  habits, 
he  has  got  new  duties,  and  where  his  wife  goes  he  may  go, 
and  ought  to  go.  He  can  no  longer  claim  exemption  from 
solemn  dinners,  from  weary  muffin-worries,  and  witless  tea- 
parties.  On  the  other  hand,  he  will  never  be  made  use  of, 
and  his  wife  will  furnish  a  ready  excuse  for  refusing  invita- 
tions which  he  had  better  not  accept.  Lastly,  the  young 
married  man  should  never  assume  the  gravity  of  Pater- 
familias, and  though  he  is  promoted  above  Ccelebs,  he  will 
take  care  not  to  snub  him. 

What  a  happy  man  is  Ccelebs  !  The  more  I  sit  in  my  club- 
window,  the  more  I  feel  convinced  of  this.  It  is  true  that 
I  have  never  been  married,  and  therefore  know  nothing  of 
the  alternative,  but  will  make  you  a  little  confession,  priestly 
reader — I  have  been  once  or  twice  vei^y  near  it.  Free  from 
incumbrance,  Ccelebs  is  as  irresponsible  as  a  butterfly ;  he 
can  choose  his  own  society,  go  anywhere,  do  anything,  be 
early  or  late,  gay  or  retired,  mingle  with  men  or  with  ladies, 
smoke  or  not,  wear  a  beard  or  cut  it  off,  and,  if  he  likes,  part 
his  hair  down  the  middle.    What  a  happy  man  is  Ccelebs  ! 


94  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

free  and  independent  as  he  is,  he  is  as  much  courtea  as  a 
voter  at  an  election ;  he  is  for  ever  being  bribed  by  mammas 
and  feasted  by  papas ;  nothing  is  complete  without  him  ;  he 
is  the  wit  at  the  dinner,  the  "life"  of  the  tea-fight,  an 
absolute  necessity  in  the  ball-room,  a  sine  qud  non  at  fete 
and  pic-nic,  and  welcome  everywhere.  Indeed,  I  don't  know 
what  society  can  do  without  him.  The  men  want  him  for 
their  parties,  the  ladies,  I  suppose  I  must  not  say,  "  still 
more"  for  theirs.  The  old  like  him  because  he  is  young, 
the  young  like  him  because  he  is  not  old  ;  and  in  short  he 
is  as  much  a  necessity  as  the  refreshments,  and  must  be 
procured  somehow  or  other.  Then,  too,  if  he  does  not  care 
for  these  things,  he  can  come  and  sit  here  in  the  club-win- 
dow; or  he  can  travel,  which  Benedict  seldom  can  ;  or  he 
can  take  to  an  occupation  or  an  art,  while  the  married  man 
has  no  choice,  and  must  work,  if  he  work  at  all,  to  keep 
quiet  the  mouths  of  those  blessed  cherubim  in  the  peram- 
bulator. 

But  that  which  makes  Ccelebs  a  happy  man  is,  that  he 
can  enjoy  society  so  much.  If  it  be  the  bachelor-party,  he 
is  not  there  against  his  conscience  with  fear  of  a  Caudle- 
lecture  to  spoil  his  digestion.  If  it  is  among  ladies,  he  has 
the  spice  of  galanterie  to  curry  his  conversation  with,  and 
as  for  dancing,  he  at  least  enjoys  it  as  an  introduction  to 
flirtation.  But  perhaps  his  greatest  privilege  is  the  power 
of  falling  in  love,  for  as  long  as  that  power  lasts — which, 
heigh-ho  !  is  not  for  ever — there  is  no  innocent  pleasure 
which  is  greater.  But  Ccelebs  has  not  always  the  privilege 
of  falling  out  of  love  again,  and  if  the  married  man  has  a 
wife  to  look  after  his  doings,  the  bachelor  is  watched  by 
chaperons,  and  suspected  by  papas.  Poor  Ccelebs,  do  not 
leave  the  matter  too  late  ;  do  not  say,  "  Hang  me'in  a  bottle 


THE  YOUNG  LADY. 


95 


like  a  cat,  and  shoot  at  me,"  if  ever  I  lose  my  heart.  Be- 
lieve me,  boy,  the  passion  must  be  enjoyed  when  young. 
When  you  come  to  my  age,  Cupid  won't  waste  an  arrow  on 
you,  and  if  he  did  so,  it  would  only  make  you  ridiculous. 
Yes,  the  young  bachelor  is  a  happy  man,  but  the  old 
bachelor — let  me  stop,  if  I  once  begin  on  that  theme,  I 
shall  waste  three  quires  of  paper,  and  tire  you  out.  But 
if  much  is  allowed  to  Coelebs,  much  is  expected  of  him. 
He  has  not  the  substance  of  Benedict  to  back  him  up,  not 
the  respectability  of  wedded  life,  not  the  charms  of  his 
young  wife  to  make  amends  for  his  deficiencies.  The  young 
bachelor  is  more  than  any  man  a  subject  for  the  laws  of 
etiquette.  Less  than  any  will  he  be  pardoned  for  neglect- 
ing them.  He  has  no  excuse  to  offer  for  their  non-observ- 
ance. He  must  make  himself  useful  and  agreeable,  must 
have  accomplishments  for  the  former,  and  talents  for  the 
latter,  and  is  expected  to  show  attention  and  respect  to  both 
sexes  and  all  ages. 

Happier  still  is  the  young  lady,  for  whom  so  many  allow- 
ances are  made,  and  who,  in  society,  is  supposed  to  do 
nothing  wrong.  To  her  the  ball  is  a  real  delight,  and  the 
evening  party  much  more  amusing  than  to  any  one  else. 
On  the  other  hand,  she  must  not  frequent  dinner-parties 
too  much,  particularly  if  she  is  very  young,  and  in  all  cases 
she  must  consider  modesty  the  prettiest  ornament  she  cais 
wear.  She  has  many  privileges,  but  must  beware  how  she 
takes  advantage  of  them.  To  the  old  her  manner  must 
always  be  respectful  and  even  affectionate.  If  she  lacks 
beauty,  she  will  not  succeed  without  conversational  powers ; 
and  if  she  has  beauty,  she  will  soon  find  that  wit  is  a 
powerful  rival.  With  the  two  she  may  do  what  she  will ; 
all  men  are  her  slaves.    She  must,  however,  have  a  smile 


9  5  THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

as  well,  for  every  person  and  eveiy  occasion.  Dignity 
she  seldom  needs,  except  to  repel  familiarity.  Without  a 
good  heart  her  mind  and  her  face  will  only  draw  envy  and 
even  dislike  upon  her.  In  England,  the  young  lady  is 
queen ;  in  France,  the  young  married  woman  takes  her  place  ; 
and  though  society  can  do  without  her,  there  is,  in  my 
opinion,  no  more  charming  companion  than  a  young  mar- 
ried woman.  She  has  left  off  nonsense,  and  forgotten  flir- 
tation, and  she  has  gained  from  the  companionship  of  her 
husband  a  certain  strength  of  mind,  which,  tempered  by  her 
modest  dignity,  enables  her  to  broach  almost  any  subject 
with  a  man.  She  is  at  home  everywhere,  may  dance  in  the 
ball-room,  and  talk  at  the  dinner-table,  and  the  respect 
due  to  her  position  enables  her  to  be  more  free  in  her 
intercourse  without  fear  of  remark.  In  short,  if  a  man 
wishes  for  sensible  conversation,  with  gentleness  and  beauty 
to  lend  it  a  charm,  he  must  look  for  it  in  young  married 
women. 

Of  the  elderly  unmarried  lady — for  of  course  there  is  no 
such  thing  as  an  "  old  maid" — I  decline,  from  a  feeling  of 
delicacy,  to  say  anything. 

I  shall  conclude  this  piece  de  resistance  with  a  few  part- 
ing remarks  on  the  art  of  making  one's-self  agreeable.  I 
take  it  that  the  first  thing  necessary  is  to  be  in  good  spirits, 
or  at  least  in  the  humour  for  society.  If  you  have  any 
grief  or  care  to  oppress  you,  and  have  not  the  strength  of 
will  to  throw  it  off,  you  do  yourself  an  injustice  by  enter- 
ing the  society  of  those  who  meet  for  mutual  entertainment. 
Nay,  you  do  them  too  a  wrong,  for  you  risk  becoming  what 
is  commonly  known  as  a  "  damper."  The  next  point  is  to 
remember  that  the  mutual  entertainment  in  society  is  ob- 
tained by  conversation.    For  this  you  require  temper,  of 


THE  ART  OF  MAKING  ONE'S-SELF  AGREEABLE.  97 

which  I  have  already  spoken  •  confidence,  of  which  I  shall 
speak  elsewhere ;  and  appropriateness,  which  has  been  treated 
under  the  head  of  "  Conversation."  I  have  already  said,, 
that  that  man  is  the  most  agreeable  to  talk  to,  who  thinks 
out  of  society  as  well  as  in  it.  It  will  be  necessary  to 
throw  off  all  the  marks  and  feelings  of  your  profession  and 
occupation,  and  surround  yourself,  so  to  speak,  with  a  purely 
social  atmosphere.  You  must  remember  that  society  re- 
quires equality,  real  or  apparent,  and  that  all  professional 
or  official  peculiarities  militate  against  this  appearance  of 
equality.  You  must,  in  the  same  way,  divest  yourself  of 
all  feeling  of  superiority  or  inferiority  in  rank,  birth,  position, 
means,  or  even  acquirements.  You  must  enter  the  social 
ranks  as  a  private.  If  you  earn  your  laurels  by  being 
agreeable,  you  will,  in  time,  get  your  commission.  Having 
made  this  mental  preparation,  having  confidence  without 
pride,  modesty  without  shyness,  ease  without  insolence, 
and  dignity  without  stiffness,  you  may  enter  the  drawing- 
room,  and  see  in  what  way  you  may  best  make  yourself 
agreeable. 

The  spirit  with  which  you  must  do  so  is  one  of  general 
kindliness  and  self-sacrifice.  You  will  not,  therefore,  select 
the  person  who  has  the  most  attractions  for  you,  so  much 
as  any  one  whom  you  see  neglected,  or  who,  being  not  quite 
at  his  or  her  ease,  requires  to  be  talked  into  confidence. 
On  the  same  principle,  you  will  respect  prejudices ;  you 
will  take  care  to  ascertain  them,  before  coming,  on  subjects 
on  which  people  feel  strongly.  Then  you  will  not  open  a 
conversation  with  a  young  lady  by  abusing  High  or  Low 
Church,  nor  with  an  elderly  gentleman  by  an  attack  on 
Whig  or  Tory.  You  will  not  rail  against  babies  to  a  mar- 
ried woman,  nor  sneer  at  modern  literature  to  a  man  with 


98 


THE  SPIRIT  OF  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 


a  beard,  for  if  he  is  not  a  Crimean  officer,  he  is  sure  to  be 
an  author. 

In  like  spirit  you  will  discover  and  even  anticipate  the 
wants  of  others,  particularly  if  you  are  a  man.  On  first 
acquaintance,  you  will  treat  every  one  with  particular 
respect  and  delicacy,  not  rushing  at  once  into  a  familiar 
joke,  or  roaring  like  a  clown.  Your  manner  will  be  calm — 
because  if  you  have  no  nerves,  other  people  have  them — 
and  your  voice  gentle  and  low.  Oh  !  commend  me  to  an 
agreeable  voice,  especially  in  a  woman.  It  is  worth  any 
amount  of  beauty.  The  tone,  too,  of  your  conversation  and 
style  of  your  manner  will  vary  with  the  occasion.  While 
it  will  be  sensible  and  almost  grave  at  table,  it  will  be 
merry  and  light  at  a  pic-nic. 

Your  attention,  again,  must  not  be  exclusive.  However 
little  you  may  enjoy  their  society,  you  will  be  as  attentive 
to  the  old  as  to  the  young ;  to  the  humble  as  to  the  grand  ; 
to  the  poor  curate,  for  instance,  as  to  the  M.P.  ;  to  the 
elderly  chaperon  as  to  her  fair  young  charge.  In  this  man- 
ner you  not  only  evince  your  good-breeding,  but  often  do  a 
real  kindness  in  amusing  those  who  might  otherwise  be  very 
dull.  On  some  occasions,  particularly  when  a  party  is 
heavy  and  wants  life,  you  will  generalize  the  conversation, 
introducing  a  subject  in  which  all  can  take  an  interest,  and 
turning  to  them  all  in  general.  On  the  other  hand,  when, 
as  in  a  small  party,  the  conversation  is  by  necessity  gene- 
ral, you  will  particularly  avoid  talking  to  one  person  exclu- 
sively, or  mentioning  people,  places,  or  things,  with  which 
only  one  or  two  of  them  can  be  acquainted.  For  instance, 
if  at  a  morning  call  there  happen  to  be  two  or  three  strangers 
at  the  same  time,  it  is  bad  taste  to  talk  about  Mr.  this  or 
Mr.  that.    It  is  far  better  to  have  recourse  to  the  news- 


MANNERS. 


99 


papers,  which  everybody  is  supposed  to  have  read,  or  to 
public  affairs,  in  which  everybody  can  take  more  or  less 
interest. 

But  it  is  not  in  your  words  only  that  you  may  offend 
against  good  taste.  Your  manners,  your  personal  habits, 
your  very  look  even  may  give  offence.  These,  therefore, 
must  not  only  be  studied,  but  if  you  have  the  misfortune 
to  be  with  people  who  are  not  accustomed  to  refined  man- 
ners, and  to  find  that  insisting  on  a  particular  refinement 
would  give  offence,  or  cast  an  imputation  on  the  rest,  it  is 
always  better  to  waive  a  refinement  than  to  hurt  feelings, 
and  it  sometimes  becomes  more  ill-bred  to  insist  on  one 
than  to  do  without  it.  For  instance,  if  your  host  and  his 
guest  dine  without  dinner  napkins,  it  would  be  very  bad 
taste  to  call  for  one,  or  if,  as  in  Germany,  there  be  no 
spoons  for  the  salt,  you  must  be  content  to  use  your  knife 
or  fork  as  the  rest  do.  "To  do  in  Rome  as  the  Romans 
do,"  applies  to  every  kind  of  society.  At  the  same  time, 
you  can  never  be  expected  to  commit  a  serious  breach  of 
manners  because  your  neighbours  do  so.  You  can  never 
be  called  on  in  America  to  spit  about  the  room,  simply 
because  it  is  a  national  habit. 

But  what  you  should  do,  and  what  not,  in  particular 
cases,  you  will  learn  in  the  following  chapters.  I  have 
only  now  to  say,  that  if  you  wish  to  be  agreeable,  which  is 
certainly  a  good  and  religious  desire,  you  must  both  study 
how  to  be  so,  and  take  the  trouble  to  put  your  studies  into 
constant  practice.  The  fruit  you  will  soon  reap.  You 
will  be  generally  liked  and  loved.  The  gratitude  of  those 
to  whom  you  have  devoted  yourself  will  be  shown  in 
speaking  well  of  you  ;  you  will  become  a  desirable  addi- 
tion to  every  party,  and  whatever  your  birth,  fortune,  or 


100  THE  SPIRIT  OP  SOCIAL  OBSERVANCES. 

position,  people  will  say  of  you,  "  He  is  a  most  agreeable 
and  well-bred  man,"  and  be  glad  to  introduce  you  to  good 
society.  But  you  will  reap  a  yet  better  reward.  You  will 
have  in  yourself  the  satisfaction  of  having  taken  trouble 
and  made  sacrifices  in  order  to  give  pleasure  and  happiness 
for  the  time  to  others.  How  do  you  know  what  grief  or 
care  you  may  not  obliterate,  what  humiliation  you  may  not 
alter  to  confidence,  what  anxiety  you  may  not  soften,  what- — 
last,  but  really  not  least — what  intense  dulness  you  may  not 
enliven  %  If  this  work  assists  you  in  becoming  an  agreeable 
member  of  good  society,  I  shall  rejoice  at  the  labour  it 
has  given  me. 


PART  L— THE  INDIVIDUAL. 


CHAPTEK  I. 

INSIDE  THE  DRESSING-ROOM. 

There  are  several  passages  in  Holy  Writ  which  have  been 
shamefully,  I  may  almost  say,  ludicrously  misapplied, 
Thus  when  we  want  a  scriptural  authority  for  making  as 
much  money  as  possible  in  an  honest  way,  we  quote  St. 
Paul,  "  Not  slothful  in  business,"  forgetting  that  the  word 
"  business"  had  once  a  far  wider  meaning,  and  that  the 
Greek,  for  which  it  is  placed,  means  really  "  zeal,"  that  is, 
in  God's  work.  But  the  most  impudent  appropriation  is 
that  of  cleanliness  being  next  to  godliness,  and  the  apostle 
is  made  to  affirm  that  if  you  cannot  be  religious,  you 
should  at  least  wear  a  clean  shirt.  Of  course,  a  reference 
to  the  Greek  would  show  in  a  moment  that  purity  of  mind 
and  heart  are  meant,  and  that  "  cleanliness"  was  once  the 
proper  English  for  "  purity." 

Though  we  have  no  right  to  claim  scriptural  authority 
for  soap  and  water,  we  cannot  agree  with  Thomas  of  Ely, 
who  tells  us  that  Queen  Ethelreda  was  so  clean  of  heart 
as  to  need  no  washing  of  the  body ;  nor  can  we  believe  that 
the  loftiness  of  Lady  Mary  Wortley  Montague's  sentiments 
at  all  replaced  the  brush  and  comb,  towel  and  basin,  to 
which  the  liveliest  woman  of  her  day  had  such  a  strange 
aversion.  It  was  she  who,  when  some  one  said  to  her  at 
the  opera,  "  How  dirty  your  hands  are,  my  lady !"  she 
101 


102 


INSIDE  THE  DEESSING-EOOM. 


replied  with  naive  indifference,  "  What  would  you  say  if 
you  saw  my  feet  ?" 

Genius,  love,  and  fanaticism,  seem  partial  to  dirt.  Every 
one  knows  what  a  German  philosopher  looks  like,  and 
Werther  showed  his  misery  by  wearing  the  same  coat  and 
appendices  for  a  whole  year.  As  to  the  saints,  they  were 
proud  of  their  unchanged  flannel,  and  the  monk  was  never 
made  late  for  matins  by  the  intricacy  of  his  toilet.  St. 
Simeon  of  the  Pillar  is  an  instance  of  the  common  opinion 
of  his  day,  that  far  from  cleanliness  being  next  to  godliness, 
the  nearest  road  to  heaven  is  a  remarkably  dirty  one. 
Perhaps,  however,  he  trusted  to  the  rain  to  cleanse  him, 
and  he  was  certainly  a  user  of  the  shower-bath,  which 
cannot  be  said  of  many  a  fine  gentleman.  Eeligion,  how- 
ever, is  not  always  accompanied  with  neglect  of  the  person. 
The  Brahman  bathes  twice  a  day,  and  rinses  his  mouth 
seven  times  the  first  thing  in  the  morning.  It  is  strange 
that  Manu,  while  enumerating  the  pollutions  of  this  world, 
should  have  made  the  exception  of  a  woman's  mouth, 
which  he  tells  us  is  always  clean.  Probably  the  worthy 
old  Hindu  was  partial  to  osculation,  but  it  is  certain  that 
there  can  be  no  Billingsgate  in  India. 

In  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  it  was  thought 
proper  for  a  gentleman  to  change  his  under  garment  three 
times  a  day,  and  the  washing  bill  of  a  beau  comprised 
seventy  shirts,  thirty  cravats,  and  pocket-handkerchiefs 
a  discretion.  What  would  Brummell  say  to  a  college  chum 
of  mine  who  made  a  tour  through  Wales  with  but  one 
flannel  shirt  in  his  knapsack  1  The  former's  maxim  was, 
"  linen  of  the  finest  quality,  plenty  of  it,  and  country 
washing."  Fine  linen  has  always  been  held  in  esteem,  but 
it  did  not  save  Dives. 

Cleanliness  is  a  duty  to  one's-self  for  the  sake  of  health, 
and  to  one's  neighbour  for  the  sake  of  agreeableness.  Dirti- 
ness is  decidedly  unpleasant  to  more  than  one  of  the 
senses,  and  a  man  who  thus  offends  his  neighbour  is  not 
free  from  guilt,  though  he  may  go  unpunished.    But  if 


CLEANLINESS. 


103 


these  reasons  were  not  sufficient,  there  is  another  far  stronger 
than  both.  St.  Simeon  Stylites  may  have  preserved  a  pure 
mind  in  spite  of  an  absence  of  ablutions,  but  we  must  not 
lose  sight  of  the  influence  which  the  body  has  over  the 
soul,  an  influence,  alas,  for  man  !  sometimes  far  too  great. 
We  are  convinced  that  bad  personal  habits  have  their  effect 
on  the  character,  and  that  a  man  who  neglects  his  body, 
which  he  loves  by  instinct,  will  neglect  far  more  his  soul, 
which  he  loves  only  by  command. 

There  is  no  excuse  for  Brummell's  taking  more  than 
two  hours  to  dress.  It  was  in  his  case  mere  vanity,  and 
he  was — and  was  content  to  be — one  of  the  veriest  show- 
things  in  the  world,  as  useless  as  the  table  ornaments  on 
which  he  wasted  the  money  he  was  not  ashamed  to  take 
from  his  friends.  On  the  other  hand,  when  a  young  lady 
assures  me  that  she  can  dress  in  ten  minutes,  I  feel  con- 
fident that  the  most  important  part  of  the  toilet  must  be 
neglected.  The  morning  toilet  means  more  than  a  mere 
putting  on  of  clothes,  whatever  policemen  and  French 
concierges  may  think. 

The  first  thing  to  be  attended  to  after  rising  is  the  bath. 
The  vessel  which  is  dignified,  like  a  certain  part  of  lady's 
dress,  with  a  royal  Order,  is  one  on  which  folios  might  be 
written.  It  has  given  a  name  to  two  towns — Bath  and 
Baden — renowed  for  their  toilets,  and  it  is  all  that  is  left 
in  three  continents  of  Koman  glory.  It  is  a  club-room  in 
Germany  and  the  East,  and  was  an  arena  in  Greece  and 
Rome.  It  was  in  a  bath  that  the  greatest  destroyer  of  life 
had  his  own  destroyed,  when  he  had  bathed  all  France  in 
blood.  But  Clarence,  I  am  convinced,  has  been  much 
maligned.  He  has  been  called  a  drunkard,  and  people 
shudder  at  his  choosing  that  death  in  which  he  could  not 
but  die  in  sin  ;  but  for  my  part,  so  far  as  the  Malmsey  is 
concerned,  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  he  only  showed  him- 
self a  gentleman  to  the  last.  He  was  determined  to  die 
clean,  and  he  knew,  like  the  Parisian  ladies — which  we 
should  perhaps  spell  Idides — who  sacrifice  a  dozen  of  cham* 


104 


INSIDE  THE  DKESSING-ROOM. 


pagne  to  their  morning  ablutions,  that  wine  has  a  pecu- 
liarly softening  effect  upon  the  skin.  Besides  champagne, 
the  exquisites  of  Paris  use  milk,*  which  is  supposed  to  lend 
whiteness  to  the  skin.  The  expense  of  this  luxury  is  con- 
siderably diminished  by  an  arrangement  with  the  milkman, 
who  repurchases  the  liquid  after  use.  I  need  scarcely  add, 
that  in  Paris  I  learned  to  abjure  cafe  au  lait,  and  to  drink 
my  tea  simple. 

The  bath  deserves  an  Order,  and  its  celebrity.  It  is  of 
all  institutions  the  most  unexceptionable.  Man  is  an  am- 
phibious animal,  and  ought  to  pass  some  small  portion  of 
each  day  in  the  water.  In  fact,  a  large,  if  not  the  larger 
proportion  of  diseases  arises  from  leaving  the  pores  of  the 
skin  closed,  whether  with  natural  exudation  or  matter  from 
without,  alias  dirt.  It  is  quite  a  mistake  to  suppose,  and 
the  idea  must  at  once  be  done  away  with,  that  one  is  to 
wash  because  one  is  dirty.  We  wash  because  we  wear 
clothes ;  in  other  words,  because  we  are  obliged  to  remove 
artificially  what  would  otherwise  escape  by  evaporation. 
We  wash  again,  because  we  are  never  in  a  state  of  perfect 
health,  although  with  care  we  might  be  so.  Were  our 
bodies  in  perfect  order — as  the  Swedenborgians  inform  us 
that  those  of  the  angels  are — we  should  never  need  wash- 
ing, and  "the  bath  would  chill  rather  than  refresh  us,  so 
that,  perhaps,  man  is  by  necessity  and  degradation — not  by 
destination — an  amphibious  creature. 

However  this  may  be,  we  must  not  suppose,  because  a 
limb  looks  clean,  that  it  does  not  need  washing,  and  how- 
ever white  the  skin  may  appear,  we  should  use  the  bath 
once  a  day  at  least,  and  in  summer,  if  convenient,  twice. 

The  question  now  arises,  What  kind  of  bath  is  best  ?  and 
it  must  be  answered  by  referring  to  the  person's  constitu- 
tion. If  this  is  weak  and  poor,  the  bath  should  be 
strengthening ;  but  at  the  same  time  it  must  be  remem- 


*  The  late  Duke  of  Queensberry  had  his  milk-bath  every  day.  It 
is  supposed  to  nourish  as  well  as  whiten  and  soften  the  skin. 


THE  BATH. 


105 


bered,  that  while  simple  water  cleanses,  thicker  fluids  are 
apt  rather  to  encumber  the  skin,  so  that  a  tonic  bath  is  not 
always  a  good  one.  This  is  the  case  with  the  champagne, 
milk,  mud,  snake,  and  other  baths,  the  value  of  which  en- 
tirely depends  on  the  peculiar  state  of  health  of  the  patient, 
so  that  one  person  is  cured,  and  another  killed  by  them. 
The  same  is  to  be  said  of  sea-bathing,  and  the  common 
bath  even  must  be  used  with  reference  to  one's  condition. 

The  most  cleansing  bath  is  a  warm  one  of  from  96°  to 
100°,  into  which  the  whole  body  is  immersed.  If  cleansing 
alone  be  the  aim,  the  hotter  the  water  the  better,  up  to 
108°.  It  expands  the  pores,  dives  well  into  them,  and  in- 
creases the  circulation  for  the  time  being.  But  since  it  is  an 
unnatural  agent,  it  exhausts  the  physical  powers,  and  leaves 
us  prostrate.  For  health,  therefore,  it  should  be  sparingly 
indulged  in,  except  in  persons  of  rapid  and  heated  circula- 
tion. Even  with  such,  it  should  be  used  with  discretion, 
and  the  time  of  remaining  in  the  bath  should  never  exceed 
a  few  minutes. 

The  cold  bath  of  from  60°  to  70°,  on  the  other  hand, 
cleanses  less,  but  invigorates  more.  It  should  therefore  be 
avoided  by  persons  of  full  temperament,  and  becomes  really 
dangerous  after  eating,  or  even  after  a  long  rest  following 
a  heavy  meal.  If  you  have  supped  largely  over  night,  or 
been  foolish,  perhaps  I  may  say  wrong  enough,  to  drink 
more  than  your  usual  quantity  of  stimulating  liquids,  you 
should  content  yourself  with  passing  a  wet  sponge  over  the 
body. 

A  tepid  bath,  varying  from  85°  to  95°,  is  perhaps  the 
safest  of  all,  but  we  must  not  lose  sight  of  health  in  the 
desire  for  comfort.  The  most  healthy,  and  one  of  the 
handsomest  men  I  ever  saw,  and  one  who  at  sixty  had  not 
a  single  grey  hair,  was  a  German,  whose  diet  being 
moderate,  used  to  bathe  in  running  water  at  all  seasons, 
breaking  the  ice  in  winter  for  his  plunge.  Of  the  shower 
bath,  I  will  say  nothing,  because  I  feel,  that  to  recommend 
it  for  general  use,  is  dangerous,  while  for  such  a  work  as 
o 


106 


INSIDE  THE  DRESSING-BOOM. 


this,  which  does  not  take  health  as  its  main  subject,  ifc 
would  be  out  of  place  to  go  into  the  special  cases. 

The  best  bath  for  general  purposes,  and  one  which  can 
do  little  harm,  and  almost  always  some  good,  is  a  sponge 
bath.  It  should  consist  of  a  large  flat  metal  basin,  some 
four  feet  in  diameter,  filled  with  cold  water.  Such  a  vessel 
may  be  bought  for  about  fifteen  shillings.  A  large  coarse 
sponge — the  coarser  the  better — will  cost  another  five  or 
seven  shillings,  and  a  few  Turkish  towels,  complete  the 
"  properties."  The  water  should  be  plentiful  and  fresh, 
that  is,  brought  up  a  little  while  before  the  bath  is  to  be 
used ;  not  placed  over  night  in  the  bed-room.  Let  us 
wash  and  be  merry,  for  we  know  not  how  soon  the  supply 
of  that  precious  article  which  here  costs  nothing  may  be 
cut  off.  In  many  continental  towns  they  buy  their  water, 
and  on  a  protracted  sea  voyage  the  ration  is  often  reduced 
to  half  a  pint  a  day  for  all  purposes,  so  that  a  pint  per 
diem  is  considered  luxurious.  Sea- water,  we  may  here  ob- 
serve, does  not  cleanse,  and  a  sensible  man  who  bathes  in 
the  sea  will  take  a  bath  of  pure  water  immediately  after  it. 
This  practice  is  shamefully  neglected,  and  I  am  inclined  to 
think,  that  in  many  cases  a  sea-bath  will  do  more  harm 
than  good  without  it,  but  if  followed  by  a  fresh  bath, 
cannot  but  be  advantageous. 

Taking  the  sponge  bath  as  the  best  for  ordinary  pur- 
poses, we  must  point  out  some  rules  in  its  use.  The  sponge 
being  nearly  a  foot  in  length,  and  six  inches  broad,  must 
be  allowed  to  fill  completely  with  water,  and  the  part  of 
the  body  which  should  be  first  attacked  is  the  stomach. 
It  is  there  that  the  most  heat  has  collected  during  the 
night,  and  the  application  of  cold  water  quickens  the 
circulation  at  once,  and  sends  the  blood  which  has  been 
employed  in  digestion  round  the  whole  body.  The  head 
should  next  be  soused,  unless  the  person  be  of  full  habit, 
when  the  head  should  be  attacked  before  the  feet  touch  the 
cold  water  at  all.  Some  persons  use  a  small  hand  shower 
bath,  which  is  less  powerful  than  the  common  shower 


THE  TEETH. 


107 


bath,  and  does  almost  as  much.  good.  The  use  of  soap  "  1 
the  morning  bath  is  an  open  question.  I  confess  a  prefer- 
ence for  a  rough  towel  or  a  hair  glove.  Brummell  patron- 
ized the  latter,  and  applied  it  for  nearly  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  every  morning. 

The  ancients  followed  up  the  bath  by  anointing  the 
body,  and  athletic  exercises.  The  former  is  a  mistake  ; 
the  latter  an  excellent  practice  shamefully  neglected  in  the 
present  day.  It  would  conduce  much  to  health  and 
strength  if  every  morning  toilet  comprised  the  vigorous 
use  of  the  dumb-bells,  or,  still  better,  the  exercise  of  the 
arms  without  them.  The  best  plan  of  all  is,  to  choose 
some  object  in  your  bedroom  on  which  to  vent  your 
hatred,  and  box  at  it  violently  for  some  ten  minutes,  till 
the  perspiration  covers  you.  The  sponge  must  then  be 
again  applied  to  the  whole  body.  It  is  very  desirable  to 
remain  without  clothing  as  long  as  possible,  and  I  should 
therefore  recommend  that  every  part  of  the  toilet  which 
can  conveniently  be  performed  without  dressing,  should 
be  so. 

The  next  duty,  then,  must  be  to  clean  the  Teeth. 
Dentists  are  modern  inquisitors,  but  their  torture -rooms  are 
meant  only  for  the  foolish.  Everybody  is  born  with  good 
teeth,  and  everybody  might  keep  them  good  by  a  proper 
diet,  and  the  avoidance  of  sweets  and  smoking.  Of  the 
two  the  former  are  perhaps  the  more  dangerous.  Nothing 
ruins  the  teeth  so  soon  as  sugar  in  one's  tea,  and  highly 
sweetened  tarts  and  puddings,  and  as  it  is  le  premier  ,^as 
qui  co4te,  these  should  be  particularly  avoided  in  childhood. 
When  the  teeth  attain  their  full  growth  and  strength  it 
takes  much  more  to  destroy  either  their  enamel  or  their 
substance. 

It  is  upon  the  teeth  that  the  effects  of  excess  are  first 
seen,  and  it  is  upon  the  teeth  that  the  odour  of  the  breath 
depends.  What  is  more  repulsive  than  a  woman's  smile 
discovering  a  row  of  black  teeth,  unless  it  be  the  rank 
smell  of  the  breath  1    Both  involve  an  offence  of  your 


108 


INSIDE  THE  DEESSING-EOOM. 


neighbour's  most  delicate  senses,  and  neither  can  therefore 
be  pardoned.  If  I  may  not  say  that  it  is  a  Christian  duty 
to  keep  your  teeth  clean,  I  may  at  least  remind  you  that  you 
cannot  be  thoroughly  agreeable  without  doing  so.  Ladies 
particularly  must  remember  that  men  love  with  their  eyes, 
and  perhaps  I  may  add  with  their  noses,  and  that  these 
details  do  not  escape  them.  In  fact,  there  are  few  details 
in  women  that  do  escape  their  admirers,  and  if  Brummell 
broke  off  his  engagement  because  the  young  lady  ate 
cabbages,  there  are  numbers  of  men  in  the  present  day  who 
would  be  disgusted  by  the  absence  of  refinement  in  such  small 
matters  as  the  teeth.  Let  words  be  what  they  may,  if  they 
come  with  an  impure  odour,  they  cannot  please.  The  butter- 
fly loves  the  scent  of  the  rose  more  than  its  honey. 

The  beau  just  mentioned  used  a  red  root,  which  is  of 
oriental  origin.  It  is  not  so  penetrating  as  a  good  hard 
tooth-brush,  with  a  lather  of  saponaceous  tooth-powder 
upon  it.  The  Hindus,  who  have  particularly  white  teeth, 
use  sticks  of  different  woods  according  to  their  caste ;  but 
perhaps  a  preparation  of  soap  is  the  best  thing  that  can  be 
employed.  The  teeth  should  be  well  rubbed  inside  as  well 
as  outside,  and  the  back  teeth  even  more  than  the  front. 
The  mouth  should  then  be  rinsed,  if  not  seven  times,  according 
to  the  Hindu  legislator,  as  least  several  times,  with  fresh  cold 
water.  This  same  process  should  be  repeated  several  times 
a  day,  since  eating,  smoking,  and  so  forth,  naturally  render 
the  teeth  and  mouth  dirty  more  or  less,  and  nothing  can  be 
so  offensive,  particularly  to  ladies,  whose  sense  of  smell 
seems  to  be  keener  than  that  of  the  other  sex,  and  who 
can  detect  at  your  first  approach  whether  you  have  been 
drinking  or  smoking.  But  if  only  for  your  own  comfort, 
you  should  brush  your  teeth  both  morning  and  even- 
ing, which  is  quite  requisite  for  th,e  preservation  of  their 
soundness  and  colour ;  while  if  you  are  to  mingle  with 
others,  they  should  be  brushed,  or  at  least  the  mouth  well 
rinsed  after  every  meal,  still  more  after  smoking,  or  drink- 
ing wine,  beer,  or  spirits.  No  amount  of  general  attractive- 


THE  NAILS. 


109 


ness  can  compensate  for  an  offensive  odour  in  the  breath  ; 
and  none  of  the  senses  is  so  fine  a  gentleman,  none  so  un- 
forgiving if  offended,  as  that  of  smell.  The  following 
reproof  was  well-merited,  if  not  polite.  "  I  have  had  the 
wind  in  my  teeth  all  the  way,"  said  an  Irishman,  after  a 
brisk  walk  on  a  breezy  morning,  before  which  he  had  been 
indulging  his  propensity  to  onions.  "Well,  sir,"  replied 
his  friend,  who  at  once  perceived  how  he  had  breakfasted, 
u  I  must  say  that  the  wind  had  the  worst  of  it." 

The  custom  of  allowing  the  nails  to  grow  as  a  proof  of 
freedom  from  the  necessity  of  working,  which  is  most  ab- 
surdly identified  with  gentility,  is  not  peculiar  to  China. 
In  some  parts  of  Italy  the  nails  of  the  left  hand  are  never 
cut  till  they  begin  to  break,  and  a  Lombard  of  my  acquaint- 
ance once  presented  me  a  huge  nail  which  he  had  just  cut, 
and  which  I  must  do  him  the  justice  to  say  was  perfectly 
white.  I  admired  it,  and  threw  it  away.  "  What  1"  cried 
he  indignantly,  "  is  that  the  way  you  receive  the  greatest 
proof  of  friendship  which  a  man  can  give  you  ?"  and  he 
then  explained  to  me  that  in  his  native  province  the  nail 
held  the  same  place  as  a  lock  of  hair  with  us.  I  really 
doubt  which  has  the  preference,  and  whether  a  Lothario's 
desk  filled  with  -little  oily  packets  of  different-coloured  hair 
is  at  all  more  romantic  than  a  box  of  beloved  finger-nails. 
Certainly  there  is  beauty  in  a  long  silken  tress,  the  golden 
tinge  reminding  us  of  the  fair  head  of  some  lost  child  so 
like  its  mother's,  or  in  the  rich  dark  curl  that,  in  the  boldest 
hour  of  love,  we  raped  from  her  head,  who  was  then  so 
confidently  ours,  and  now — What  is  she  now  ?  But  even 
this  fancy  can  take  a  very  disagreeable  form,  and  what  can 
we  say  of  an  ardent  hopeless  lover  whom  I  once  knew,  and 
who  I  was  assured  gave  a  guinea  to  a  lady's-maid  for  the 
stray  hairs  left  in  her  mistress'  comb  ! 

But  though  we  may  not  be  cultivating  our  nails  either  to 
tear  a  rival's  face  with,  or  to  confer  with  a  majestic  conde- 
scension on  some  importunate  admirer,  we  are  not  absolved 
from  paying  strict  attention  to  their  condition,  and  that 


110 


INSIDE  THE  DRESSING-ROOM. 


both  as  regards  cleaning  and  cutting.  The  former  is  best 
done  with  a  liberal  supply  of  soap  on  a  small  nail-brush, 
which  should  be  used  before  every  meal,  if  you  would  not 
injure  your  neighbour's  appetite.  While  the  hand  is  still 
moist,  the  point  of  a  small  pen-knife  or  pair  of  stumpy  nail- 
scissors  should  be  passed  under  the  nails  so  as  to  remove 
every  vestige  of  dirt ;  the  skin  should  be  pushed  down 
with  a  towel,  that  the  white  half -moon  may  be  seen,  and 
the  finer  skin  removed  with  the  knife  or  scissors.  Occasion- 
ally the  edges  of  the  nails  should  be  filed,  and  the  hard 
skin  which  forms  round  the  corners  of  them  cut  away. 
The  important  point  in  cutting  the  nails  is  to  preserve  the 
beauty  of  their  shape.  That  beauty  even  in  details  is 
worth  preserving  I  have  already  remarked,  and  we  may 
study  it  as  much  in  paring  our  nails,  as  in  the  grace  of 
our  attitudes,  or  any  other  point.  The  shape,  then,  of  the 
nail  should  approach  as  nearly  as  possible  to  the  oblong. 
The  oriental  ladies  know  this,  and  allow  the  nail  to  grow  to 
an  enormous  length,  and  bend  down  towards  the  finger. 
But  then  they  cultivate  beauty  in  every  detail,  for,  poor 
things,  they  have  none  but  personal  attractions  to  depend 
on  ;  and  they  give  to  the  pink  nail  a  peculiar  lustre  by  the 
little  speck  of  purple  henna,  just  as  Parisian  beauties  pass 
a  line  of  blue  paint  under  the  lower  eyelash  ;  perhaps,  too, 
they  keep  their  fingers  thus  well  armed  to  protect  them- 
selves from  angry  pashas,  or  even — but  let  us  hope  not- — 
to  spoil  the  beauty  of  some  more  favoured  houri.  How- 
ever this  may  be,  the  length  of  the  nail  is  an  open  ques- 
tion. Let  it  be  often  cut,  but  always  long,  in  my  opinion. 
Above  all,  let  it  be  well  cut,  and  never  bitten.  Had 
Brummell  broken  off  his  engagement  because  the  young 
lady  bit  her  nails,  I  think  I  could  not  have  blamed  him. 

Perhaps  you  tell  me  these  are  childish  details.  Details, 
yes,  but  not  childish.  The  attention  to  details  is  the  true 
sign  of  a  great  mind,  and  he  who  can  in  necessity  consider 
the  smallest,  is  the  same  man  who  can  compass  the  largest 
subjects.    Is  not  life  made  up  of  details  1    Must  not  the 


CHILBLAINS. 


Ill 


artist  who  has  conceived  a  picture,  descend  from  the  dream 
of  his  mind  to  mix  colours  on  a  palette  1  Must  not  the 
great  commander  who  is  bowling  down  nations  and  setting 
up  monarchies  care  for  the  health  and  comfort,  the  bread 
and  beef  of  each  individual  soldier  1  I  have  often  seen  a 
great  poet,  whom  I  knew  personally,  counting  on  his  fingers 
the  feet  of  his  verses,  and  fretting  with  anything  but 
poetic  language,  because  he  could  not  get  his  sense  into 
so  many  syllables.  What  if  his  nails  were  dirty  1  Let 
genius  talk  of  abstract  beauty,  and  philosophers  dogmatize 
on  order.  If  they  do  not  keep  their  nails  clean,  I  shall 
call  them  both  charlatans.  The  man  who  really  loves 
beauty  will  cultivate  it  in  everything  around  him.  The 
man  who  upholds  order  is  not  conscientious  if  he  cannot 
observe  it  in  his  nails.  The  great  mind  can  afford  to 
descend  to  details  ;  it  is  only  the  weak  mind  that  fears 
to  be  narrowed  by  them.  When  Napoleon  was  at  Munich 
he  declined  the  grand  four-poster  of  the  Witelsbach  family, 
and  slept,  as  usual,  in  his  little  camp-bed.  The  power  to 
be  little  is  a  proof  of  greatness. 

For  the  hands,  ears,  and  neck  we  want  something  more 
than  the  bath,  and  as  these  parts  are  exposed  and  really 
lodge  fugitive  pollutions,  we  cannot  use  too  much  soap, 
or  give  too  much  trouble  to  their  complete  purification. 
Nothing  is  lovelier  than  a  woman's  small  white  shell-like 
ear ;  few  things  reconcile  us  better  to  earth  than  the  cold 
hand  and  warm  heart  of  a  friend ;  but  to  complete  the 
charm,  the  hand  should  be  both  clean  and  soft.  Warm 
water,  a  liberal  use  of  the  nail-brush,  and  no  stint  of  soap, 
produce  this  amenity  far  more  effectually  than  honey,  cold 
cream,  and  almond  paste.  Of  wearing  gloves  I  shall  speak 
elsewhere,  but  for  weak  people  who  are  troubled  with  chil- 
blains, they  are  indispensable  all  the  year  round.  I  will 
add  a  good  prescription  for  the  cure  of  chilblains,  which 
are  both  a  disfigurement,  and  one  of  the  petites  misdres  of 
human  life. 

"  Roll  the  fingers  in  linen  bandages,  sew  them  up  well, 


112 


INSIDE  THE  DEESSING-EOOM. 


and  dip  them  twice  or  thrice  a  day  in  a  mixture,  consisting 
of  half  a  fluid  ounce  of  tincture  of  capsicurn,  and  a  fluid 
ounce  of  tincture  of  opium." 

The  person  who  invented  razors  libelled  Nature,  and 
added  a  fresh  misery  to  the  days  of  man,  "Ah  !"  said 
Diogenes,  who  would  never  consent  to  be  shaved,  "  would 
you  insinuate  that  Nature  had  done  better  to  make  you  a 
woman  than  a  man  ?"  As  for  barbers,  they  have  always 
been  gossips  and  mischief-makers,  and  Arkwright,  who 
invented  spinning  by  rollers,  scarcely  redeemed  his  trade 
from  universal  dishonour.  They  have  been  the  evil  spirits 
of  great  men  toty  whom  they  shaved  and  bearded  in  their 
private  closets.  It  was  a  barber  who  helped  the  late  King 
of  Oude  to  ruin  the  country  he  governed ;  and  it  was  a 
barber  who,  at  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  was 
the  bottle-imp  of  a  Bishop  of  Hereford.  Who  in  fact  can 
respect  a  man  whose  sole  office  is  to  deprive  his  sex  of  their 
distinctive  feature  ? 

It  is  said  that  Alexander  the  Great  introduced  shaving, 
to  prevent  his  soldiers  being  caught  by  the  beard  by  their 
enemies,  but  the  conqueror  of  Asia  must  be  absolved  of 
priority  in  this  iniquitous  custom,  which  he  probably  found 
prevalent  in  the  countries  he  invaded.  At  any  rate  it  would 
appear  that  the  Buddhist  priests  of  India  were  ashamed  of 
their  locks  at  least  a  century  before,  and  this  reminds  me 
that  shaving  and  fanaticism  have  always  gone  together. 
The  custom  of  the  clergy  wearing  a  womanish  face  is  purely 
Eomanist,  and  I  rejoice  to  see  that  many  a  good  preacher 
in  the  present  day  is  not  afraid  to  follow  Cranmer  and 
other  fathers  of  our  Church  in  wearing  a  goodly  beard. 
The  Romish  priests  were  first  ordered  to  shave  when  tran- 
substantiation  was  established,  from  a  fear  that  the  beard 
might  fall  into  the  cup.  It  is  clear  that  a  Protestant  chin 
ought  to  be  well  covered. 

Whatever  be  said  of  the  clergy,  the  custom  of  shaving 
came  to  this  country,  like  many  other  ugly  personal  habits, 
with  the  foreign  monarchs.    As  long  as  we  had  Plan- 


THE  MOUSTACHE  AND  BEARD. 


113 


tagenets,  Tudors,  and  Stuarts  on  the  throne,  we  were  men 
as  to  the  outward  form.  William  of  Orange  was  ashamed 
of  that  very  appendage  which  it  is  a  disgrace  to  a  Mussul- 
man to  be  without.  Peter  the  Great  had  already  proved 
that  barber  and  barbarian  are  derived  from  the  same  root, 
by  laying  a  tax  on  all  capillary  ornaments. 

In  England  there  has  always  been  a  great  distinction 
between  civil  and  military  men,  and  this  is  the  only  country 
in  the  world  where  the  latter  have  been  held  in  such  dis- 
like, as  to  compel  them  to  abandon  their  uniform  in  every- 
day life.  Perhaps  it  was  on  this  account  that  civilians  in 
general  adopted  the  coutumes  of  the  learned  professions,  lest 
they  should  be  thought  to  belong  to  that  of  the  sword. 
The  beard  and  the  rapier  went  out  together  at  the  begin- 
ning of  the  last  century.  In  the  present  day  many  a  young 
shop-boy  joins  "the  moustache  movement"  solely  with  a 
hope  of  being  mistaken  for  a  "  captain." 

Whatever  Punch  may  say,  the  moustache  and  beard 
movement  is  one  in  the  right  direction,  proving  that  men 
are  beginning  to  appreciate  beauty  and  to  acknowledge  that 
Nature  is  the  best  valet.  But  it  is  very  amusing  to  hear 
men  excusing  their  vanity  on  the  plea  of  health,  and  find 
them  indulging  in  the  hideous  "  Newgate  frill "  as  a  kind 
of  compromise  between  the  beard  and  the  razor.  There 
was  a  time  when  it  was  thought  a  presumption  and  vanity 
to  wear  one's  own  hair  instead  of  the  frightful  elaborations 
of  the  wig-makers,  and  the  false  curls  which  Sir  Godfrey 
Kneller  did  his  best  to  make  gracefid  on  canvas.  Who 
knows  that  at  some  future  age  some  Punch  of  the 
twenty-first  century  may  not  ridicule  the  wearing  of  one's 
own  teeth  instead  of  the  dentist's  1  At  any  rate  Nature 
knows  best,  and  no  man  need  be  ashamed  of  showing  his 
manhood  in  the  hair  of  his  face.  Of  razors  and  shaving 
therefore  I  shall  only  speak  from  necessity,  because,  until 
everybody  is  sensible  on  this  point,  they  will'  still  be  used. 

Napoleon  shaved  himself.  "  A  born  Mug,"  said  he, 
"has  another  to  shave  him.    A  made  king  can  use  his 


114  INSIDE  THE  DRESSING-ROOM. 

own  razor."  But  the  war  he  made  on  his  chin  was  very 
different  to  that  he  made  on  foreign  potentates.  He  took 
a  very  long  time  to  effect  it,  talking  between  whiles  to  his 
hangers-on.  The  great  man,  however,  was  right,  and  every 
sensible  man  will  shave  himself,  if  only  as  an  exercise  of 
character,  for  a  man  should  learn  to  live  in  every  detail 
without  assistance.  Moreover,  in  most  cases  we  shave  our- 
selves better  than  barbers  can  do.  If  we  shave  at  all,  we 
should  do  it  thoroughly,  and  every  morning.  Nothing, 
except  a  frown  and  a  hay-fever,  makes  the  face  looks  so 
unlovely  as  a  chin  covered  with  short  stubble.  The  chief 
requirements  are  hot  water,  a  large  soft  brush  of  badger 
hair,  a  good  razor,  soft  soap  that  will  not  dry  rapidly,  and 
a  steady  hand.  Cheap  razors  are  a  fallacy.  They  soon 
lose  their  edge,  and  no  amount  of  stropping  will  restore  it. 
A  good  razor  needs  no  strop.  If  you  can  afford  it,  you 
should  have  a  case  of  seven  razors,  one  for  each  day  of  the 
week,  so  that  no  one  shall  be  too  much  used.  There  are 
now  much  used  packets  of  papers  of  a  certain  kind  on 
which  to  wipe  the  razor,  and  which  keep  its  edge  keen, 
and  are  a  substitute  for  the  strop. 

I  may  here  remark,  that  the  use  of  violet-powder  after 
shaving,  now  very  common  among  well-dressed  men,  is  one 
that  should  be  avoided.  In  the  first  place,  it  is  almost 
always  visible,  and  gives  an  unnatural  look  to  the  face.  I 
know  a  young  lady,  who,  being  afflicted  with  a  redness  in 
a  feature  above  the  chin,  is  in  the  habit  of  powdering  it. 
For  a  long  time  I  thought  her  charming,  but  since  I  made 
the  discovery  I  can  never  look  at  her  without  a  painful 
association  with  the  pepper-caster.  Violet -powder  also 
makes  the  skin  rough,  and  enlarges  the  pores  of  it  sooner 
or  later. 

Beards,  moustaches,  and  whiskers,  have  always  been 
most  important  additions  to  the  face.  Italian  conspirators 
are  known  by  the  cut  of  those  they  wear ;  and  it  is  not 
long  since  an  Englishman  with  a  beard  was  set  down  as  an 
artist  or  a  philosopher.    In  the  present  day  literary  men 


WHISKEKS. 


115 


are  much  given  to  their  growth,  and  in  that  respect  show 
at  once  their  taste  and  their  vanity.  Let  no  man  be 
ashamed  of  his  beard,  if  it  be  well  kept  and  not  fantas- 
tically cut.  The  moustache  should  be  kept  within  limits. 
The  Hungarians  wear  it  so  long  that  they  can  tie  the  ends 
round  their  heads.  The  style  of  the  beard  should  be 
adopted  to  suit  the  face.  A  broad  face  should  wear  a  large 
full  one ;  a  long  face  is  improved  by  a  sharp-pointed  one. 
Taylor,  the  water-poet,  wrote  verses  on  the  various  styles, 
and  they  are  almost  numberless.  The  chief  point  is  to 
keep  the  beard  well-combed  and  in  neat  trim. 

As  to  whiskers,  it  is  not  every  man  who  can  achieve  a 
pair  of  full  length.  There  is  certainly  a  great  vanity  about 
them,  but  it  may  be  generally  said  that  foppishness  shoidd 
be  avoided  in  this  as  in  most  other  points.  Above  all,  the 
whiskers  should  never  be  curled,  nor  pulled  out  to  an 
absurd  length.  Still  worse  is  it  to  cut  them  close  with  the 
scissors.  The  moustache  should  be  neat  and  not  too  large, 
and  such  fopperies  as  curHng  the  points  thereof,  or  twisting 
them  up  to  the  fineness  of  needles — though  patronized  by 
the  Emperor  of  the  French— are  decidedly  a  proof  of  vanity. 
If  a  man  wear  the  hair  on  his  face  which  nature  has  given 
him,  in  the  manner  that  nature  distributes  it,  keeps  it  clean, 
and  prevents  its  overgrowth,  he  cannot  do  wrong.  If,  on 
the  other  hand,  he  applies  to  Marie  Coupelle',  and  other 
advertisers,  because  he  believes  that  "  those  dear  silky 
whiskers  "  will  find  favour  in  the  eyes  of  the  fair,  he  will, 
if  unsuccessful,  waste  much  money — if  successful,  incur  the 
risk  of  appearing  ridiculous.  All  extravagancies  are  vulgar, 
because  they  are  evidence  of  a  pretence  to  being  better  than 
you  are ;  but  a  single  extravagance  unsupported  is  perhaps 
worse  than  a  number  together,  which  have  at  least  the 
merit  of  consistency.  If  you  copy  puppies  in  the  half-yard 
of  whisker,  you  should  have  their  dress  and  their  manner 
too,  if  you  would  not  appear  doubly  absurd. 

The  same  remarks  apply  to  the  arrangement  of  the  hair 
in  men,  which  should  be  as  simple  and  as  natural  as  pos- 


116 


INSIDE  THE  DRESSING-ROOM. 


sible,  but  at  the  same  time  a  little  may  be  granted  to  beauty 
and  the  requirements  of  the  face.  For  my  part  I  can  see 
nothing  unmanly  in  wearing  long  hair,  though  undoubtedly 
it  is  inconvenient  and  a  temptation  to  vanity,  while  its 
arrangement  would  demand  an  amount  of  time  and  atten- 
tion which  is  unworthy  of  a  man.  But  every  nation  and 
every  age  has  had  a  different  custom  in  this  respect,  and  to 
this  day  even  in  Europe  the  hair  is  sometimes  worn  long. 
The  German  student  is  particularly  partial  to  hyacinthine 
locks  curling  over  a  black  velvet  coat  ;  and  the  peasant  of 
Brittany  looks  very  handsome,  if  not  always  clean,  with  his 
love-locks  hanging  straight  down  under  a  broad  cavalier 
hat.  Religion  has  generally  taken  up  the  matter  severely. 
The  old  fathers  preached  and  railed  against  wigs,  the  Cal- 
vinists  raised  an  insurrection  in  Bordeaux  on  the  same 
account,  and  English  Roundheads  consigned  to  an  unmen- 
tionable place  every  man  who  allowed  his  hair  to  grow 
according  to  nature.  The  Romans  condemned  tresses  as 
unmanly,  and  in  France  in  the  middle  ages  the  privilege  to 
wear  them  was  confined  to  royalty.  Our  modern  custom 
was  a  revival  of  the  French  revolution,  so  that  in  this 
respect  we  are  now  republican  as  well  as  puritanical. 

If  we  conform  to  fashion  we  should  at  least  make  the 
best  of  it,  and  since  the  main  advantage  of  short  hair  is  its 
neatness,  we  should  take  care  to  keep  ours  neat.  This 
should  be  done  first  by  frequent  visits  to  the  barber,  for  if 
the  hair  is  to  be  short  at  all  it  should  be  very  short,  and 
nothing  looks  more  untidy  than  long,  stiff,  uncurled  masses 
sticking  out  over  the  ears.  If  it  curls  naturally  so  much 
the  better,  but  if  not  it  will  be  easier  to  keep  in  order. 
The  next  point  is  to  wash  the  head  every  morning,  which, 
when  once  habitual,  is  a  great  preservative  against  cold. 
I  never  have  more  than  one  cold  per  annum,  and  I  attri- 
bute this  to  my  use  of  the  morning  bath,  and  regular 
washing  of  my  head.  A  pair  of  large  brushes,  hard  or  soft, 
as  your  case  requires,  should  be  used,  not  to  hammer  the 
head  with,  but*to  pass  up  under  the  hair  so  as  to  reach  the 


THE  HAIE. 


117 


roots.  As  to  pomatum,  Macassar,  and  other  inventions  of 
the  hairdresser,  I  have  only  to  say  that,  if  used  at  all,  it 
should  be  in  moderation,  and  never  sufficiently  to  make 
their  scent  perceptible  in  company.  Of  course  the  arrange- 
ment will  be  a  matter  of  individual  taste,  but  as  the  middle 
of  the  hair  is  the  natural  place  for  a  parting,  it  is  rather  a 
silly  prejudice  to  think  a  man  vain  who  parts  his  hair  in 
the  centre.  He  is  less  blamable  than  one  who  is  too  lazy 
to  part  it  at  all,  and  has  always  the  appearance  of  having 
just  got  up. 

Of  wigs  and  false  hair,  the  subject  of  satires  and  sermons 
since  the  days  of  the  Eoman  emperors,  I  shall  say  nothing  here 
except  that  they  are  a  practical  falsehood  which  may  some- 
times be  necessary,  but  is  rarely  successful.  For  my  part  I 
prefer  the  snows  of  life's  winter  to  the  best-made  peruke, 
and  even  a  bald  head  to  an  inferior  wig. 

When  gentlemen  wore  armour,  and  disdained  the  use  of 
their  legs,  an  esquire  was  a  necessity  ;  and  we  can  under- 
stand that,  in  the  days  of  the  Beaux,  the  word  "  gentle- 
man" meant  a  man  and  his  valet.  I  am  glad  to  say  that 
in  the  present  day  it  only  takes  one  man  to  make  a  gentle- 
man, or,  at  most,  a  man  and  a  ninth — that  is,  including 
the  tailor.  It  is  an  excellent  thing  for  the  character  to  be 
neat  and  orderly,  and,  if  a  man  neglects  to  be  so  in  his 
room,  he  is  open  to  the  same  temptation  sooner  or  later  in 
his  person.  A  dressing-case  is,  therefore,  a  desideratum. 
A  closet  to  hang  up  cloth  clothes,  which  should  never  be 
folded,  and  a  small  dressing-room  next  to  the  bed-room,  are 
not  so  easily  obtainable.  But  the  man  who  throws  his 
clothes  about  the  room,  a  boot  in  one  corner,  a  cravat  in 
another,  and  his  brushes  anywhere,  is  not  a  man  of  good 
habits.  The  spirit  of  order  should  extend  to  everything 
about  him. 


CHAPTER  II. 


THE  LADY'S  TOILET. 

In  no  particular  has  the  present  generation  become  more 
fastidious  than  in  what  is  requisite  for  the  use  of  ladies 
in  their  own  dressing-rooms.  Essences,  powders,  pastes, 
washes  for  the  hair,  washes  for  the  skin,  recal  the  days  of 
one's  grandmothers,  when  such  appurtenances  were  thought 
essential  and  were  essential  :  for  our  great-grandmothers 
were  not  rigid  in  points  of  personal  cleanliness ;  and  it  is 
only  uncleanliness  that  requires  scents  to  conceal  it,  and 
applications  to  repair  its  ravages.  Our  great-grandmothers 
wore  powder  and  pomatum,  and  had  their  hair  dressed  three 
times  a  week ;  going  to  bed  in  the  cushioned  structure, 
after  suffering  torture  for  some  hours  lest  they  should,  in 
the  weakness  of  human  infirmity,  lean  back  in  their  chairs. 
Our  great-grandmothers,  too,  had  their  white  kid  gloves 
sewn  to  the  bottom  of  each  sleeve,  lest  they  should  incur 
the  calamity  of  a  sun-burnt  arm.  Our  great-grandmothers 
were  afraid  of  cold  water,  and  delicately  ivi])ed  their  faces 
with  the  corner  of  a  towel  no  larger  than  a  pocket  hand- 
kerchief. There  were  those  amongst  them  who  boasted 
that  they  had  never  washed  their  faces  in  their  whole  span 
of  existence,  lest  it  should  spoil  their  complexions,  but  had 
only  passed  a  cambric  handkerchief  over  the  delicate  brow 
and  cheeks,  wetted  with  elder-flower  water  or  rose  water. 
I  believe  the  nearest  approach  to  the  ablution  we  now 
diurnally  practise  was  the  bathing  their  lovely  countenances 
in  May-dew,  esteemed  the  finest  thing  in  the  morning  for 
the  skin  by  our  belles  of  the  last  century:  so  they  turned 
118 


EARLY  RISING. 


119 


out  betimes  in  high-heeled  shoes  and  negliges,  trotted  down 
the  old  avenues  of  many  a  patriarchal  home  to  the  meadow, 
and,  saturating  their  kerchiefs  in  May-dew,  refreshed  with 
it  the  cheeks  flushed  over-night  at  quadrille  or  great  cas- 
siuo,  and  went  home  contented  that  a  conscientious  duty 
had  been  performed  ! 

Nor  were  they  wrong.  Some  wise  fairy  of  old  must  have 
inspired  the  nymph  whom  she  loved  with  the  belief  in  May 
dew  :  tradition  handed  down  the  counsel  from  one  genera- 
tion to  another,  the  fairy,  or  gnome,  smiling  all  the  while 
as  she  saw  the  lovely  procession  of  the  squires'  young  daugh- 
ters steal  out  and  bend  down  amid  the  butter-cups  and 
ladies'- smock  in  the  meadow  :  she  smiled,  and,  as  she 
smiled,  wafted  to  them  good  health,  good  spirits,  and  their 
type — bloom.  She  had  induced  them  by  a  stratagem — 
Heaven  pity  her  pious  fraud  .' — to  take  a  preliminary  step 
to  beauty  and  its  preservation  :  she  had  beguiled  them  into 
early  rising. 

For,  gentle  ladies,  you  may  wash,  may  bathe  your  forms 
and  faces,  curl  your  locks,  and  shake  out  your  crinoline  • 
use  every  essence  Atkinson  has,  wherewith  to  arrest  the 
attention  of  the  wistful  passers-by ;  you  may  walk  by  the 
hour,  eat  by  rule,  take  beauty-sleep  before  midnight,  yet, 
if  you  are  very  long  after  the 

"  Sanguine  sunrise  with  his  meteor  eyes"* 

in  coming  out  and  abroad  from  your  chambers,  youth  will 
not  stay  with  you  out  his  time,  but,  like  an  ill-behaved  ap- 
prentice, will  break  his  indentures,  and  vow  that  he  cannot 
abide  with  you.  It  is  true  that  rules  for  habitual  early 
rising  cannot  be  laid  down  for  every  one,  without  especial 
reference  to  other  habits  ;  very  early  rising,  after  late 
parties,  or  great  fatigue  on  the  previous  day,  or  extreme 
delicacy  of  the  lungs  or  throat,  might  even  be  pernicious, 
and  its  use  or  abuse  must  be  regulated  by  the  physician. 


*  Shelley. 


120 


THE  LADY'S  TOILET. 


In  those  cases  the  advice  that  is  now  given  is  for  persons 
in  an  ordinary  condition  of  health.  For  them,  and  even 
with  some  exceptions  for  invalids,  there  can  be  no  habit  of 
the  day  or  life  so  important,  as  far  as  good  looks  are  con- 
cerned, as  early  rising.  All  other  animals  whose  health  is 
of  importance  to  man  are  forced  to  rise  early.  The  horse, 
on  whose  good  condition  his  beauty,  and  therefore  his  value 
depends,  is  exercised  as  early  as  possible.  Our  cattle  on 
the  uplands  scent  the  morning  breeze  as  it  brings  the  odours 
of  the  woodbine  ;  the  little  house-dog  pants  till  he  can 
rush  forth  from  the  pent-up  heated  chamber  to  the  fresh 
lawn ;  and  why  is  this  obvious  law  of  nature  of  so  great 
importance  to  these  objects  of  preference  or  of  value  ?  The 
morning  air  is  more  strengthening,  has  a  greater  proportion 
of  oxygen,  be  it  replied,  than  any  other  breeze  that  refreshes 
us  by  day,  or  when  "  the  pale  purple  even"  warns  us  that 
our  enjoyment  of  its  delicious  sensations  are  not  devoid  of 
danger.  No  one  catches  cold  in  the  morning  air,  at  least 
with  the  ordinary  prudence  of  sufficient  clothing.  Fortified 
by  sleep,  the  change  of  atmosphere  is  most  salubrious.  To 
the  careless  and  happy,  what  can  be  more  delightful  than 
to  feel  all  the  freshness  of  nature  soothing  every  sense, 
whilst  yet  the  great  world  and  its  interests  and  troubles  is 
silent  and  slumbers  1  And  it  is  this  fresh  breeze,  this  eman- 
cipation from  the  pent-up  chamber,  this  reviving  influence, 
that  combine  to  form  a  restorative,  such  as  neither  medicine 
nor  regimen  can  offer ;  that  preserves  looks,  appetite  for 
food,  and  bloom  and.  delicacy  of  complexion. 

An  aged  clergyman  who  had  known  not  one  day's  illness 
was  asked  his  secret :  "  Dry  feet  and  early  rising,"  was  his 
reply ;  "  these  are  my  only  two  precautions." 

With  regard  then  to  what  a  French  author  calls  "a 
whole  Cyclopaedia  of  narcotics,"  young  women  forget  that 
there  is  no  royal  road  to  health  and  beauty.  They  must 
take  the  right  path  if  they  wish  to  reap  the  reward.  No 
person  in  good  health  should  remain  in  bed  after  seven 
o'clock,  or  half-past  seven,  in  the  spring  and  summer ;  that 


MORNING  HABITS. 


121 


may,  in  the  present  century,  when  the  daughters  of  England 
are  reproached  with  self-indulgence,  be  termed  early  rising. 
She  may  then  be  down  stairs  at  eight,  and  without  taking 
a  long  and  fatiguing  walk,  saunter  in  the  garden  a  little; 
or,  if  in  a  large  town,  have  time  to  practise,  supposing  that 
the  opportunity  of  going  out  into  the  air  is  denied. 
By  this  means,  that  vigour  which  is  the  very  soul  of  come- 
liness, the  absence  of  hurry  and  the  sense  of  self-reproach 
incurred  by  late  rising,  and  the  hunger  felt  for  breakfast, 
will  all  conduce  to  arrest  Time,  as  he  hovers  over  his 
wholesale  subjects,  and  to  beguile  him  into  sparing  that 
process  with  his  scythe  by  which  he  furrows  the  brow  of  the 
indolent  with  wrinkles,  whilst  he  colours  the  poor  victim, 
at  the  same  time,  with  his  own  pet  preparation  of  saffron. 

Suppose  then  that  this  first  and  vital  standing  order  for 
the  toilet  be  stringent,  and  that  refreshed,  and  therefore 
energetic,  buoyant,  and  conscious  of  one  duty  being  at  least 
performed,  the  lady  leaves  her  bed  and  prepares  to  dress. 
L.  E.  L.  used  to  say,  for  she  was  no  early  riser,  that  "  we 
begin  every  day  with  a  struggle  and  a  sacrifice."  But  the 
struggle  is  soon  changed  by  habit  into  an  eager  desire  to 
get  up ;  and  the  sacrifice,  to  the  habitual  early  riser,  is  to  be 
in  bed.  She  rises  :  if  in  summer,  throws  open  the  window 
for  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  whilst  the  bath  is  being  prepared, 
then  closes  it  again,  until  the  ablutions  are  completed.  The 
nature  of  these  must  be  guided  in  a  great  measure  by  the 
general  health.  Of  all  bracing  processes,  to  a  sound  con- 
stitution, that  of  the  shower-bath  is  the  greatest.  It  should 
be  used  however  only  with  the  sanction  of  the  physician. 
The  nervous  energy  is  invigorated  by  it,  the  digestion,  a  great 
desideratum  for  the  complexion,  is  improved ;  the  balance  of 
circulation  between  the  viscera  and  skin  is  maintained ; 
and  taking  cold,  that  enemy  of  the  graces,  rheums,  catarrhs, 
and  sore  throats  are  kept  off  •  swelling  glands  are  prevented, 
and  the  whole  powers  of  the  frame  increase.  But,  since 
the  reaction  is  not  in  some  delicate  constitutions  sufficient 
to  make  the  use  of  the  shower-bath  desirable,  the  hip-bath, 
Q 


122 


THE  LADY'S  TOILET. 


half  filled  with  tepid  water  at  first,  and  with  cold  after- 
wards, or  the  sponging-bath,  are  admirable  modifications  of 
the  shower-bath.  Thus  fortified,  the  lady  who  has  courage 
to  conquer  a  shower-bath,  or  to  plunge  into  a  hip-bath, 
can  face  the  morning  air,  and  go  forth  with  the  self-earned 
coat-of-mail,  as  a  defence  against  all  that  ugly  family  of 
catarrhal  affections. 

We  now  come  to  the  toilet-table.  This,  in  a  lady's  as  well 
as  in  a  gentleman's  room,  should  be  always  neatly  set  out,  and 
every  article  placed  where  it  can  be  most  conveniently  used. 
In  former  times,  vast  expense  used  to  be  bestowed  on  china, 
and  even  on  gold  and  silver  toilet-services ;  then  came  the  war, 
and  the  national  poverty,  and  those  luxurious  appliances  were 
let  down,  if  not  abandoned.  We  have  now  resumed  them 
with  a  degree  of  expense  that  is  hardly  wise  or  consistent. 
The  secrets  of  the  toilet  were,  indeed,  no  fancied  mysteries  in 
former  days.  Until  the  first  twenty  years  of  this  century  had 
passed  away,  many  ladies  of  bon  ton  thought  it  necessary, 
in  order  to  complete  their  dress,  to  put  a  touch  of  rouge  on 
either  cheek.  The  celebrated  Mrs.  Fitzherbert  was  rouged 
to  the  very  eyes  ;  those  beautiful  deep  blue  eyes  of  hers. 
The  old  Duchess  of  R —  enamelled,  and  usually  fled  from 
a  room  when  the  windows  were  opened,  as  the  compound, 
whatever  formed  of,  was  apt  to  dissolve  and  run  down  the 
face.  Queen  Caroline  (of  Brunswick)  was  rouged  fearfully  j 
her  daughter,  noble  in  form,  fair  but  pale  in  complexion, 
disdained  the  art.  Whilst  the  rouged  ladies  might  have  sung 
or  said, 

"  We  are  blushing  roses, 
Bending  with  our  fulness," 

that  gifted  and  lamented  princess  might  have  answered, 
"  We  are  lilies  fair, 

The  flower  of  virgin  light, 
•  Nature  held  us  forth,  and  said, 
Lo  1  'my  thoughts  of  white.' "  * 

*  Hu&t» 


ROUGE  AND  COSMETICS. 


123 


And  it  was  certainly  remarkable,  that  after  the  Princess 
Charlotte's  introduction  at  Court,  rouge,  which  had  been 
the  rule,  became  the  exception,  and  that  young  people  gene- 
rally never  used  it. 

Still  there  were  other  means  resorted  to  for  attaining  the 
whiteness  of  skin  which  medical  men  dread,  but  which  is 
certainly  a  very  striking  and  beautiful  characteristic  of  an 
English  woman.  I  once  knew  a  lady  who  was  bled  from 
time  to  time  to  keep  the  marble-like  whiteness  of  her  com- 
plexion ;  others,  to  my  knowledge,  rub  their  faces  with 
bread-crumbs  as  one  should  a  drawing.  But,  worst  of  all, 
the  use  of  pearl  powder,  or  of  violet  powder,  has  been  for 
the  last  half  century  prevalent. 

Independent  of  all  sorts  of  art  being  unpleasant,  no  mis- 
take of  the  fair  one  is  greater  than  this.  She  may  powder, 
she  may  go  forth  with  a  notion  that  the  pearly  whiteness 
of  her  brow,  her  neck,  will  be  deemed  all  her  own ;  but 
there  are  lights  in  which  the  small  deception  will  be  visible, 
and  the  charm  of  all  colouring  is  gone  when  it  proves  to  be 
artificial.    We  tremble  to  think  what  is  underneath. 

There  is  another  inconvenience  attached  to  the  use  of 
pearl  powder,  its  great  unwholesomeness.  It  checks  the 
natural  relief  of  the  skin,  perspiration  ;  and  though  it  may 
not  always  injure  the  health,  it  dries  up  the  cuticle,  and 
invites  as  it  were  age  to  settle.  Where  pearl  powder  has 
been  made  an  article  of  habitual  use,  wrinkles  soon  require 
additional  layers  to  fill  it  up,  just  as  worn-out  roads  have 
ruts,  and  must  be  repaired ;  but  the  macadamizing  process 
cannot  be  applied  to  wrinkles. 

Still  more  fatal  is  the  use  of  cosmetics  ;  its  extravagance, 
in  the  first  place,  is  an  evil ;  but  I  treat  not  of  the  moral 
question  but  of  its  physical  effects.  Some  women  spend  as 
much  on  essences  and  sweet  waters  as  would  enable  them 
to  take  a  journey,  and  thus  do  more  for  their  looks  than 
all  that  a  bureau  full  of  cosmetics  could  insure.  Many  an 
eruptive  disease  has  arisen  from  the  desire  to  make  the 
skin  clear  ;  above  all,  avoid  specifics.    Your  friends  are  in 


124 


THE  LADY'S  TOILET. 


the  habit  of  saying,  such  a  thing  "  is  good  for  the  com- 
plexion but  remember  that  complexion  is  the  dial  of  con- 
stitution, and  that  no  two  constitutions  are  alike.  What 
is  salutary  in  one  case,  may  produce  serious  mischief  in  an- 
other. 

For  instance,  when  abroad,  a  lady  who  had  been  very 
much  sun-burnt  was  told  that  cucumbers  cut  into  slices  and 
put  into  cream,  produce  a  decoction  that  would  take  off 
the  burning  effects  of  the  sun.  It  is,  in  fact,  a  remedy 
used  by  German  ladies,  who  must  however  have  skins  dif- 
ferently constituted  than  ours  to  bear  it.  The  lady  used 
this  very  powerful  specific,  and  her  face  was  blistered.  No- 
thing, indeed,  but  time  and  cold  weather  will  take  away 
the  effects  of  the  sun  :  butter-milk,  from  its  gentle  acid,  has 
some  efficacy  on  certain  skins,  but  it  is  a  disagreeable 
remedy. 

The  softest  possible  water  ought,  however,  to  be  resorted 
to  in  washing  the  face  ;  and  rain-water,  filtered,  is  incom- 
parably the  best.  Great  care  should  be  taken  not  to  check 
perspiration  by  washing  when  heated  ;  these  are  precau- 
tions consistent  with  nature,  and  therefore  valuable.  The 
water  should  be  dashed  freely  over  the  face  several  times, 
and  the  process  be  pursued  in  the  middle  of  the  day,  as 
well  as  in  the  morning  and  at  dinner-time ;  it  is  true  the 
face  may,  without  that,  be  clean  all  day,  but  it  will  not  be 
fresh.  The  Turkish  towels  now  used  so  much  are  excellent 
for  wiping,  as  they  do  that  important  operation  not  only 
thoroughly,  but  without  irritating  the  skin ;  the  body,  on 
the  other  hand,  should  be  dried  with  a  coarse  huckaback, 
an  article  unknown  in  France,  but  excellent  for  promoting 
quick  circulation  in  the  frame  after  bathing.  To  complete, 
then,  the  toilet  so  far  as  the  person  is  concerned  ;  with 
few  or  no  cosmetics,  with  nothing  but  the  use  of  soap  (the 
old  brown  Windsor  being  still,  in  spite  of  all  modern  in- 
ventions, far  the  best  for  the  skin),  to  have  the  water 
brought  in  fresh  in  the  morning,  as  that  in  the  room  is 
seldom,  except  in  winter,  really  cool,  these  are  the  simple 


THE  TRUE  COSMETICS. 


125 


preservatives  of  the  skin,  which  it  is  very  easy  to  injure  and 
irritate,  and  very  difficult  to  restore  to  a  healthy  condition. 
It  must,  however,  be  remembered  that  a  healthy  condition 
of  the  skin  depends  far  less  on  external  than  on  internal 
causes  ;  and  that  good  health,  maintained  by  early  rising, 
and  a  simple,  nutritive  diet,  is  the  great  originator  of  a 
clear  and  blooming  complexion.  In  cases  of  eruption, 
however,  do  nothing  without  good  advice.  Many  an 
eruption  which  poisons  the  comfort  even  of  the  strongest- 
minded  woman,  has  been  fixed  beyond  cure  by  dabblings 
of  Eau-de-Cologne  on  the  face — thus  exciting  instead  of 
allaying  the  fiery  enemy — milk  of  roses,  essences,  and  cos- 
metics, whose  name  is  Legion.  Such  is  the  effect  of  de- 
speration on  the  female  mind,  that  it  has  been  even  tried 
whether  raw  veal  cutlets  being  put  on  the  face  would  not 
soften  and  improve  the  skin  ;  an  act  of  folly  which  can  only 
be  characterized  as  disgusting. 

Banish,  therefore,  if  free  from  any  cutaneous  disease, 
every  essence,  cosmetic,  or  sweet-water  from  your  toilet ; 
and  remember  that  to  keep  the  skin  smooth  and  clean, 
all  rubbing  and  touching  should  be  avoided ;  fresh  air, 
when  the  heat  of  the  sun  is  not  intense,  and  pure  water, 
are  the  best  and  only  cosmetics  that  can  be  used  without 
prejudice. 

There  are  many  alleviations  to  eruptive  complaints  : 
among  the  best  is  a  solution  of  sulphur ;  but  even  this 
should  never  be  resorted  to  without  advice,  and  in  the  proper 
proportions.  In  many  cases,  however,  it  almost  immediately 
removes  an  eruption,  by  cooling  the  skin  ;  hence  it  will  be 
seen  how  very  injurious  are  all  essences  with  spirit  in 
them,  which  have  a  tendency  to  heat  and  inflammation. 

"Do  you  want  luxuriant  hair  ?"  is  a  question  we  see 
daily  in  the  papers,  answered,  of  course,  by  a  specific.  If 
possible,  the  skin  of  the  head  requires  even  more  tenderness 
and  cleanliness  than  any  other  portion  of  the  body,  and  is 
very  soon  capable  of  being  irritated  into  disease.  In  respect 
of  this,  as  of  the  complexion,  people  err  generally,  from 


126 


THE  LADY'S  TOILET. 


doing  too  much.  In  the  first  place,  the  most  perfect 
cleanliness  must  be  enjoined ;  formerly  the  use  of  a  fine- 
tooth  comb  was  considered  essential,  and  abroad  it  is  still 
resorted  to,  and  is  in  some  cases  salutary.  But,  in  general, 
to  the  careful  brasher  the  comb  is  not  essential.  I  say 
the  careful  brusher,  for  great  harm  is  often  done  to  the 
hairs  by  rude,  sharp,  irregular  brushing.  The  hairs  should 
be  separated  with  a  comb,  so  that  the  head  and  not  the 
hairs  be  brushed.  The  brush  should  not  be  too  hard ;  it 
may  slightly  redden  the  skin,  but  no  more  ;  the  use  of 
pomatum  should  be  sparing,  and  confined  to  that  of  which 
the  ingredients  are  known — marrow  and  bear's  grease  are 
the  best,  and  the  former  is  most  easily  obtained  genuine. 
All  scents  are  more  or  less  injurious  to  the  hair,  and  they 
should  be  used  in  the  slightest  possible  proportion.  To 
wash  the  roots  of  the  hair  from  time  to  time  with  weak 
vinegar  and  water,  or  with  a  solution  of  ammonia,  cleanses 
it  effectually,  whilst  a  yolk  of  an  egg  beaten  up  and  mixed 
with  warm  water,  is  excellent  for  the  skin  and  hair  ;  but 
it  is  troublesome  to  wash  out,  and  must  be  done  by  a 
careful  maid.  There  is  no  risk,  but  great  benefit,  in  washing 
even  the  "luxuriant  hair  "  of  a  person  in  health,  if  done 
in  warm  weather,  and  well  dried,  or  by  a  fire  ;  and  a  small 
quantity  of  ammonia  insures  from  catching  cold.  It  is 
quite  a  mistake  to  suppose  that  washing  the  hair  makes 
it  coarse  ;  it  renders  it  glossy  and  flexible  ;  the  washing  . 
cools  the  head,  the  heat  of  which  is  the  great  source  of 
baldness  and  grey  hairs  ;  it  prevents  all  that  smell  from 
very  thick  hair  which  is  detected  in  persons  who  trust  to 
the  brush  only ;  lastly,  it  is  one  of  the  most  refreshing 
personal  operations,  next  to  the  bath,  that  can  be  devised. 

A  lady's  hair  should,  in  ordinary  life,  be  dressed  twice 
a  day,  even  if  she  does  not  vary  the  mode.  To  keep  it 
cool  and  glossy,  it  requires  being  completely  taken  down  in 
the  middle  of  the  day,  or  in  the  evening,  according  to  the 
dinner-hours.  The  taste  in  dressing  it  in  the  morning 
should  be  simple,  without  pins,  bows,  or  any  foreign 


THE  HAIR. 


127 


auxiliary  to  the  best  ornament  of  nature.  I  do  not  mean 
to  deprecate  the  use  of  the  pads,  as  they  are  called,  or 
supports  under  the  hair  used  at  this  time,  because  they 
supersede  the  necessity  of  frizzing,  which  is  always  a  pro- 
cess most  injurious  to  the  hair  ;  but  I  own  I  object  much 
to  the  ends  of  black  lace,  bows  of  ribbon,  &c,  used  by 
many  young  women  in  their  morning  coiffure  ;  of  course, 
for  those  past  girlhood,  and  not  old  enough  to  wear  caps, 
the  case  is  different. 


CHAPTER  III. 


DRESS. 

"  A  story,"  says  an  eminent  writer,  "  is  never  too  old 
to  tell,  if  it  be  made  to  sound  new."  If  this  be  true,  I  may- 
be excused  for  narrating  the  following  veritable  history  : — 
In  an  Indian  jungle  there  once  resided  a  tawny  jackal,  a 
member,  as  all  those  animals  are,  of  a  jackal  club  which 
met  at  night  in  the  said  jungle.  It  was  the  custom  for 
the  different  subscribers  to  separate  early  in  the  evening  on 
predatory  excursions,  and  on  one  occasion  the  individual  in 
question  having  dined  very  sparingly  that  day  on  a  leg  of 
horse,  ventured,  in  hopes  of  a  supper,  within  the  precincts 
of  a  neighbouring  town.  It  happened  that  while  employed 
in  the  prowling  distinctive  of  his  kind,  he  fell  into  a 
sunken  vat  filled  with  indigo,  and  when  he  had  contrived 
to  struggle  out  again,  discovered,  by  the  light  of  the 
moon,  that  his  coat  had  assumed  a  brilliant  blue  tinge. 
In  vain  he  rolled  himself  on  the  grass,  in  vain  rubbed  his 
sides  against  the  bushes  of  the  jungle  to  which  he  speedily 
returned.  The  blue  stuck  to  him,  and  so,  with  the  acute- 
ness  for  which  jackals  are  renowned,  he  determined  to 

"  stick  to  "  it  Shame  indeed  would  have  overcome  him, 

ridicule  Jiave  oMv^o^mn  to  despair,  when  he  rejoined  his 
club,  but  for  this  resolution.  That  very  morning  he 
appeared  among  his  kind,  whisking  his  tail  with  glee,  and 
holding  his  head  erect.  A  titter,  of  course,  welcomed  him, 
and,  before  long,  you  would  have  thought  that  every 
jackal  present  had  been  turned  into  a  laughing  hyaena. 
128 


FASHION  AND  ITS  LEADERS. 


129 


Our  hero  was  nothing  abashed.  "  Gentlemen,"  said  he, 
in  the  dialect  of  Hindustani  peculiar  to  his  kind,  "  I  have 
been  to  town,  and  bring  you  the  last  new  fashion."  The 
laughter  changed  to  respectful  admiration.  One  by  one 
the  members  of  the  club  stole  up  to  him  and  inquired 
where  he  had  met  with  the  colouring,  just  as  George  iv. 
asked  Brummell  what  tailor  had  made  that  coat.  The 
address  was  imparted,  and  if  on  the  following  evening  not 
all  of  the  prowling  beasts  appeared  in  a  blue  coat,  it  was 
only  because  three  of  them  had  been  drowned  in  the 
attempt  to  procure  it. 

The  fable,  which  is  a  real  Sanskrit  one,  will  at  once 
remind  us  of  one  concerning  that  sharp-nosed  quadruped 
which  farmers  denounce,  and  squires  combine  to  run  to 
death.  But  it  has  a  moral  as  well  as  a  satirical  bearing, 
and  we  believe  that  this  moral  has  not  been  done  justice  to. 
Fashion  is  called  a  despot ;  but  if  men,  like  the  jackals  and 
foxes,  are  willing,  nay,  eager  to  be  its  slaves,  we  cannot, 
and  ought  not,  to  upbraid  fashion.  Its  crowning  is,  in 
short,  nothing  more  than  the  confession  that  vanity  makes 
of  its  own  weakness.  We  must  be  vain ;  we  are  weak  ; 
all  we  ask  is  to  be  guided  in  our  vanity. 

The  worst  of  it  is,  that  the  man  who  rebels  against 
fashion,  is  even  more  open  to  the  imputation  of  vanity 
than  he  who  obeys  it,  because  he  makes  himself  conspicu- 
ous, and  practically  announces  that  he  is  wiser  than  his 
kind.  There  cannot  be  greater  vulgarity  than  an  affecta- 
tion of  superior  simplicity.  Between  the  two  it  is  left  to 
the  man  of  sense  and  modesty  only  to  follow  fashion  so  far 
as  not  to  make  himself  peculiar  by  opposing  it. 

Dress  and  sin  came  in  together,  and  have  kept  good 
fellowship  ever  since.  If  we  could  doubt,  as  some  have 
done,  the  authenticity  of  the  Pentateuch,  we  should  have 
to  admit  that  its  author  was  at  least  the  shrewdest  observer 
of  mankind,  inasmuch  as  he  makes  a  love  of  dress  the  first 
consequence  of  the  Fall.  That  it  really  was  so,  we  can  be 
certain  from  the  fact  that  it  has  always  accompanied  an 

R 


130 


DRESS. 


absence  of  goodness.  The  best  dressers  of  every  age  have 
always  been  the  worst  men  and  women.  We  do  not  pre- 
tend that  the  converse  is  true,  and  that  the  best  people 
have  always  dressed  the  worst.  Plato  was  at  once  a  beau 
and  a  philosopher,  and  Descartes  was  the  former  before  he 
aspired  to  be  the  latter.  But  the  love  of  dress,  take  it  as 
you  will,  can  only  arise  from  one  of  two  closely  allied  sins, 
vanity  and  pride ;  and  when  in  excess,  as  in  the  miserable 
beaux  of  different  ages,  it  becomes  as  ridiculous  in  a  man 
as  the  glee  of  a  South  Sea  islander  over  a  handful  of  worth- 
less glass  beads.  No  life  can  be  more  contemptible  than 
one  of  which  the  Helicon  is  a  tailor's  shop,  and  its  paradise 
the  Park;  no  man  more  truly  wretched  than  he  whose 
mind  is  only  a  mirror  of  his  body,  and  whose  soul  can  fly 
no  higher  than  a  hat  or  a  neck-tie  ;  who  strangles  ambition 
with  a  yard-measure,  and  suffocates  glory  in  a  boot.  But 
this  puny  peacockism  always  brings  its  own  punishment. 
The  fop  ruins  himself  by  his  vanity,  and  ends  a  sloven,  like 
Goodman,  first  a  well-dressed  student  of  Cambridge,  then 
an  actor,  then  a  liighwayman,  who  was  at  last  reduced  to 
share  a  shirt  with  a  fellow-fool,  and  had  to  keep  his  room 
on  the  days  when  the  other  wore  it. 

But  we  must  not  suppose  that  this  vanity  lies  in  the 
following  more  than  in  the  outraging  of  fashion ;  and  if 
there  were  no  such  thing  as  a  universal  rule  of  dress,  we 
may  be  confident  that  there  would  be  just  as  much,  if  not 
more  foppery,  where  each  could  dress  as  he  liked.  When 
it  could  not  glory  in  the  roll  of  a  coat-collar  or  the  turn  of 
a  hat-brim,  it  would  show  itself  in  richness  of  stuffs  and 
splendour  of  ornaments  ;  and  while  fashion  has  to  be  blamed 
for  many  extravagances,  the  gold  chains  of  one  age,  the 
huge  wigs  of  another,  and  the  crinoline  of  a  third;  we  must- 
rejoice  that  it  holds  so  severe  a  sway  over  men's  minds, 
when  we  find  that  at  another  period  it  decrees  simplicity, 
and  legislates  to  put  down  superfluous  ornament.  The 
wise  man,  therefore,  who  frets  at  its  follies,  will  attempt 
not  to  subvert,  but  rather  to  reform  it }  not  to  tear  from  his 


NEW  AND  OLD  FASHIONS. 


131 


throne  a  monarch  elected  by  universal  suffrage,  who  will 
instantly  be  reinstated,  but  to  lead  him  by  his  own  exam- 
ple, and,  if  possible,  by  his  voice,  to  make  simple  and 
sensible  enactments.  Better  a  wise  despot  than  a  silly 
republic. 

When  kings  were  the  roinisters  of  fashion,  dress  was 
generally  costly  and  showy;  when  philosophers  were  its 
counsellors,  it  became  slovenly  and  untidy ;  and  when,  as 
in  the  present  day,  it  is  led  by  private  gentlemen  and 
private  ladies,  it  is  often  absurd  and  in  bad  taste,  but 
generally  tends  towards  simplicity.  It  is  certainly  amusing, 
when  looking  back  at  the  history  of  dress,  to  see  how  often 
the  story  of  the  blue  jackal  may  be  cited.  Wigs  were 
inflicted  on  our  forefathers  by  a  bald  monarch,  and  we 
were  tortured  by  stiff  cravats  and  high  shirt-collars,  because 
another  had  the  king's  evil  in  his  neck.  Long  skirts  pro- 
bably came  in  to  hide  a  pair  of  ungainly  feet,  and  hoops 
were  introduced  to  make  a  queenly  waist  look  smaller  than 
it  was. 

There  is,  however,  a  difference  between  the  prerogative 
of  fashion  and  that  of  other  despots.  While  we  are  bound 
to  yield  a  general  obedience  to  his  laws,  we  have  the  right, 
without  a  loss  of  caste,  to  disregard  any  which  are  mani- 
festly absurd  and  inconvenient.  If,  for  example,  a  fashion- 
able of  the  present  day,  to  whom  nature  had  given  an  ugly 
foot,  were  to  follow  the  example  of  Fulk,  Duke  of  Anjou, 
and  introduce  such  long  peaks  to  our  boots  that  we  could 
not  walk  in  them,  we  may  be  certain  that  their  use  would 
not  survive  a  season,  and  would  be  confined  to  a  class  who 
have  little  to  do  but  look  ornamental.  It  is  certainly  a 
consolation  to  find  that  in  the  present  day  the  fashions  of 
male  attire  are  restricted,  not  as  they  once  were,  by  royal 
edicts,  but  by  the  common  sense  of  men  who  know  that 
dress  ought  to  be  convenient  as  well  as  elegant.  With 
ladies  it  is  otherwise.  Woman  is  still  too  generally  believed 
to  have  no  higher  mission  than  that  of  pleasing  the  senses 
rather  than  the  judgment  of  men,  and  so  many  women  of 


132 


DRESS. 


all  classes  are  idle,  that  a  fashion,  however  preposterous,  is 
more  readily  accepted  and  more  universally  adopted  by 
them  than  by  the  stronger  sex.  And  this  is  the  case  even 
when  the  reform  proposed  is  obviously  most  advantageous. 
How  difficult,  for  instance,  has  it  been  to  abolish  the  stiff 
black  hat  and  the  throat-cutting  collar,  though  the  wide- 
awake and  the  turned-down  collar  were  at  once  more 
graceful  and  more  comfortable.  How  completely  has  the 
attempt  to  establish  the  "  peg-top"  been  a  failure,  though 
every  man  of  sense  who  values  his  health  must  feel  that  a 
loose  covering  is  both  more  comfortable  and  more  healthy 
than  a  tight  sheathing  of  cloth.  The  fact  is,  that  there  is 
a  conservatism  in  fashion  which  has  the  appearance  of  being 
respectable,  but  is  really  slavish  and  silly ;  and  the  weekly 
satirists  who  undertake  to  laugh  down  its  extravagances 
have  not  always  the  sense  to  appreciate  its  wisdom.  Those 
in  fact  who  are  most  eager  in  the  blind  attack  on  fashion, 
are  often  really  its  most  abject  and  least  sensible  servants. 
To  condemn  a  new  fashion  only  because  it  is  new,  is  con- 
temptibly short-sighted ;  and  the  wise  old  gentlemen  who 
sneer  at  "  new-fangled  fancies"  should  first  ascertain 
whether  the  innovation  is  for  the  better  or  the  worse. 

But,  after  all,  the  changes  of  fashion  are  not  sufficiently 
rapid  or  violent  in  respect  of  men's  dress,  to  make  even  our 
grandfathers  uncomfortable  on  account  of  their  peculiarity. 
If  the  hat-brim  and  coat-collar  have  lost  what  was  once 
considered  a  graceful  curl,  if  huge  shirt-collars  and  stiff 
cravats  have  given  way  to  a  freer  arrangement  for  the 
neck,  if  blue  swallow-tailed  coats  and  brass  buttons  have 
been  succeeded  by  blue  frocks  without  them,  and  buff 
waistcoats  with  painfully  tight  appendices,  by  white  waist- 
coats and  the  liberty  of  the  leg,  the^  change  is  not  great 
enough  to  require  a  new  race  of  tailors,  or  make  old  men 
ridiculous  even  in  our  streets.  But  while  an  old  man  in 
an  old  fashion  not  only  passes  muster,  but  seems  to  acquire 
additional  respectability  from  the  antiquity  of  his  style,  a 
young  man  can  scarcely  adopt  his  grandfather's  wardrobe 


APPROPKIATENESS. 


133 


without  risking  a  smile.  I  remember  once  taking  a  friend 
of  mine — a  country  squire  of  one-and-twenty — to  dine  with 
some  extremely  fashionable  but  not  very  well-bred  bache- 
lors. The  appearance  of  my  companion  was  decidedly 
antique  ;  for,  conservative  to  the  back  and  its  covering,  he 
prided  himself  on  maintaining  the  style  of  his  worthy  pro- 
genitor. I  saw  that  the  eye-glasses  were  turned  on  him 
with  a  look  of  mingled  pity  and  contempt,  and  in  the 
course  of  dinner  heard  the  following  remarks  pass  between 
the  host  and  a  guest : — 

"  Pray,  G- — ,"  asked  a  lisping  bewhiskered  exquisite 
of  the  former,  "  who  is  your  fine  old  English  gentleman  1 
What  style  do  you  call  it  1  Bather  George  the  Fourth 
—eh  !" 

"  Yes,  rather,"  replied  the  host ;  "  but,"  he  added  in 
a  whisper,  "  he  has  just  come  in  to  £12,000  a  year  and 
B —  Hall." 

"  Oh  ! — aw,  indeed  !  Then  of  course  he  can  afford  to 
be  eccentric." 

This  brings  me  to  speak  of  certain  necessities  of  dress : 
the  first  of  which  I  shall  take  is  appropriateness.  The 
age  of  the  individual  is  an  important  consideration  in  this 
respect ;  and  a  man  of  sixty  is  as  absurd  in  the  style  of 
nineteen  as  my  young  friend  in  the  high  cravat  of  Brum- 
mell's  day.  I  know  a  gallant  colonel  who  is  master  of  the 
ceremonies  in  a  gay  watering-place,  and  who,  afraid  of 
the  prim  old-fashioned  tournure  of  his  confreres  in  similar 
localities,  is  to  be  seen,  though  his  hair  is  grey  and  his  age 
not  under  five-and-sixty,  in  a  light  cut-away,  the  "  peg-top" 
continuations,  and  a  turned- down  collar.  It  may  be  what 
younger  blades  will  wear  when  they  reach  his  age,  but  in 
the  present  day  the  effect  is  ridiculous.  We  may,  there- 
fore, give  as  a  general  rule,  that  after  the  turning-point  of 
life  a  man  should  eschew  the  changes  of  fashion  in  his  own 
attire,  while  he  avoids  complaining  of  it  in  the  young.  In 
the  latter,  on  the  other  hand,  the  observance  of  these 
changes  must  depend  partly  on  his  taste  and  partly  on  his 


134 


DRESS* 


position.  If  wise,  he  will  adopt  with  alacrity  any  new 
fashions  which  improve  the  grace,  the  ease,  the  healthful- 
ness,  and  the  convenience  of  his  garments.  He  will  be  glad 
of  greater  freedom  in  the  cut  of  his  cloth  clothes,  of  boots 
with  elastic  sides  instead  of  troublesome  buttons  or  laces, 
of  the  privilege  to  turn  down  his  collar,  and  so  forth,  while 
he  will  avoid  as  extravagant,  elaborate  shirt-fronts,  gold 
bindings  on  the  waistcoat,  and  expensive  buttons.  On  the 
other  hand,  whatever  his  age,  he  will  have  some  respect  to 
his  profession  and  position  in  society.  He  will  remember 
how  much  the  appearance  of  the  man  aids  a  judgment  of 
his  character,  and  this  test,  which  has  often  been  cried  down, 
is  in  reality  no  bad  one ;  for  a  man  who  does  not  dress 
appropriately  evinces  a  want  of  what  is  most  necessary  to 
professional  men — tact  and  discretion.  I  could  not,  for 
instance,  feel  confidence  in  a  young  physician  dressed  as  I 
am  accustomed  to  see  a  guardsman ;  while,  if  my  lawyer 
were  a  dandy  in  his  office,  I  should  be  inclined  to  think  he 
knew  more  of  gay  society  than  of  Coke  upon  Lyttleton. 
The  dress  of  the  clergy  is  not  an  arbitrary  matter,  yet  I 
have  seen  ecclesiastics  who,  abandoning  the  white  choker, 
lounge  in  an  easy  costume,  little  different  from  that  of  their 
undergraduate  days,  and,  though  it  is  "certainly  hard  to  con- 
demn a  man  for  life  to  the  miseries  of  black  cloth,  we  have 
a  right  to  expect  that  he  should  be  proud  rather  than 
ashamed  of  the  badge  of  his  high  calling. 

Position  in  society  demands  a  like  appropriateness.  Well 
knowing  the  worldly  value  of  a  good  coat,  I  would  yet  never 
recommend  a  man  of  limited  means  to  aspire  to  a  fashion- 
able appearance.  In  the  first  place,  he  becomes  thereby  a 
walking  falsehood ;  in  the  second,  he  cannot,  without 
running  into  debt,  which  is  another  term  for  dishonesty, 
maintain  the  style  he  has  adopted.  As  he  cannot  afford  to 
change  his  suits  as  rapidly  as  fashion  alters,  he  must  avoid 
following  it  in  varying  details.  He  will  rush  into  wide 
sleeves  one  month,  in  the  hope  of  being  fashionable,  and 
before  his  coat  is  worn  out,  the  next  month  will  bring  in  a 


TOWN  AND  COUNTRY. 


135 


narrow  sleeve.  We  cannot,  unfortunately,  like  Samuel 
Pepys,  take  a  long  cloak  now-a-days  to  the  tailor's,  to  be 
cut  into  a  short  one,  "  long  cloaks  being  now  quite  out," 
as  he  tells  us.  Even  when  there  is  no  poverty  in  the  case, 
our  position  must  not  be  forgotten.  The  tradesman  will 
win  neither  customers  nor  friends  by  adorning  himself  in 
the  mode  of  the  club-lounger,  and  the  clerk,  or  commercial 
traveller,  who  dresses  fashionably,  lays  himself  open  to 
inquiries  as  to  his  antecedents,  which  he  may  not  care  to 
have  investigated.  In  general,  it  may  be  said  that  there 
is  vulgarity  in  dressing  like  those  of  a  class  above  us,  since 
it  must  be  taken  as  a  proof  of  pretension. 

I  remember  going  to  church  in  a  remote  little  village 
on  the  borders  of  Wales,  and  being  surprised  to  see  enter, 
among  the  clodhoppers  and  simple  folk  of  the  place,  a  couple 
of  young  men  dressed  in  the  height  of  fashion,  and  wearing 
yellow  kid-gloves  and  patent-leather  boots.  On  inquiry  I 
found  them  to  be  the  sons  of  a  rich  manufacturer,  who  had 
himself  been  once  a  working  man,  and  was  residing  in  the 
neighbourhood.  I  was  not  surprised,  for  vulgar  pretension 
was  here  carried  out  to  the  worst  extreme.  Better-bred 
men  would  have  known  that,  whatever  their  London  cos- 
tume, a  difference  must  be  made  in  the  country.  The  rule 
may  be  laid  down  that  wherever  we  are  we  should  assimi- 
late, as  far  as  convenient,  to  the  customs  and  costumes  of 
the  place.  While  I  had  no  wish  to  see  the  sons  of  the 
parvenu  appear  in  smock-frocks  and  high-lows,  I  was  reason- 
able in  thinking  that  a  rougher  style  of  dress  would  have 
been  better,  and  this  may  be  said  for  the  country  generally. 
As  it  is  bad  taste  to  flaunt  the  airs  of  the  town  among 
provincials,  who  know  nothing  of  them,  it  is  worse  taste  to 
display  the  dress  of  a  city  in  the  quiet  haunts  of  the  rustics. 
The  law  which  we  have  enunciated,  that  all  attempts  at 
distinction  by  means  of  .dress  is  vulgar  and  pretentious, 
would  be  sufficient  argument  against  wearing  London 
fashions  in  the  country ;  but  if  this  is  not  sufficient,  we  may 
picture  the  inconvenience  of  such  a  measure  under  certain 


136 


circumstances.  Had  a  shower  of  rain  descended  at  the 
conclusion  of  the  service,  our  two  young  sprigs  of  gentility 
would  have  looked  superbly  ridiculous  in  their  thin  boots 
and  light  gloves,  and  no  London  hansom  to  take  refuge  in, 
to  say  nothing  of  spoiling  one's  boots  and  catching  cold. 

While  in  most  cases  a  rougher  and  easier  mode  of  dress  is 
both  admissible  and  desirable  in  the  country,  there  are  many 
occasions  of  country  visiting  where  a  town  man  finds  it 
difficult  to  decide.  It  is  almost  peculiar  to  the  country  to 
unite  the  amusements  of  the  daytime  with  those  of  the  even- 
ing ;  of  the  open  air  with  those  of  the  drawing-room.  Thus, 
in  the  summer,  when  the  days  are  long,  you  will  be  asked 
to  a  pic-nic  or  an  archery  party,  which  will  wind  up  with 
dancing  in-doors,  and  may  even  assume  the  character  of  a 
ball.  If  you  are  aware  of  this  beforehand,  it  will  always 
be  safe  to  send  your  evening  dress  to  your  host's  house,  and 
you  will  learn  from  the  servants  whether  others  have  done 
the  same,  and  whether,  therefore,  you  will  not  be  singular 
in  asking  leave  to  change  your  costume.  But  if  you  are 
ignorant  how  the  day  is  to  end,  you  must  be  guided  partly 
by  the  hour  of  invitation,  and  partly  by  the  extent  of  your 
intimacy  with  the  family.  I  have  actually  known  gentle- 
men arrive  at  a  large  pic-nic  at  mid-day  in  complete  evening 
dress,  and  pitied  them  with  all  my  heart,  compelled  as  they 
were  to  suffer,  in  tight  black  clothes,  under  a  hot  sun  for  eight 
hours,  and  dance  after  all  in  the  same  dress.  On  the  other 
hand,  if  you  are  asked  to  come  an  hour  or  two  before  sunset, 
after  six  in  summer,  in  the  autumn  after  five,  you  cannot 
err  by  appearing  in  evening  dress.  It  is  always  taken  as 
a  compliment  to  do  so,  and  if  your  acquaintance  with  your 
hostess  is  slight,  it  would  be  almost  a  familiarity  to  do 
otherwise.  In  any  case  you  desire  to  avoid  singularity, 
so  that  if  you  can  discover  what  others  who  are  invited 
intend  to  wear,  you  can  always  decide  on  your  own  attire. 
On  the  Continent  there  is  a  convenient  rule  for  these 
matters  :  never  appear  after  four  in  the  afternoon  in  morn- 
ing dress ;  but  then  grey  trousers  are  there  allowed  instead 


TRAVELLING. 


137 


of  black,  and  white  waistcoats  are  still  worn  in  the  evening. 
At  any  rate,  it  is  possible  to  effect  a  compromise  between 
the  two  styles  of  costume,  and  if  you  are  likely  to  be  called 
upon  to  dance  in  the  evening,  it  will  be  well  to  wear  thin 
boots,  a  black  frock-coat,  and  a  small  black  neck-tie,  and 
to  put  a  clean  pair  of  white  gloves  into  your  pocket.  You 
will  thus  be  at  least  less  conspicuous  in  the  dancing-room 
than  in  a  light  tweed  suit. 

Englishmen  are  undeniably  the  most  conservative  men 
in  the  world,  and  in  nothing  do  they  show  it  more  univer- 
sally than  in  maintaining  their  usual  habits  in  any  country, 
climate,  or  season.  I? Anglais  en  voyage  has  been  a  fruit- 
ful subject  of  ridicule  both  to  our  own  and  foreign  writers, 
and  I  shall  therefore  content  myself  with  saying  that,  while 
I  would  not  have  an  Englishman  adopt  every  local  habit  or 
every  fantastic  costume  of  those  among  whom  he  finds  him- 
self, I  would  fain  see  him  avoid  that  distinctiveness  in 
both  which  is  set  down  by  our  neighbours  to  pride  and  ob- 
stinacy. Excellent,  for  instance,  is  the  custom  of  shaking 
hands,  but  it  has  on  the  Continent  generally  a  much 
more  friendly  and  particular  signification,  and  is  per- 
mitted between  the  sexes  only  after  a  long  intimacy.  In 
fact,  a  French  jeune  fille  never  takes  a  gentleman's  hand 
unless  he  is  quite  an  ami  de  la  maison,  so  that  for  an  Eng- 
lishman at  a  first  visit  to  shake  hands  all  round  amounts  to 
a  familiarity.  I  shall  never  forget  the  deep  crimson  on 
the  cheeks  of  a  charming  girl  to  whom  I  once  introduced 
an  English  friend,  and  who  was  too  well-bred  not  to  touch 
his  proffered  hand,  but  did  so  with  an  air  of  unmistakable 
surprise.  "  Qu'est-ce  que  c'est  que  votre  ami,"  she  asked 
me  afterwards  ;  "  est-ce  qu'il  veut  done  m'embrasser  V  To 
impose  the  manners  of  one  country  on  the  people  of  an- 
other, is  as  bad  as  to  revive  those  of  a  past  century. 

In  the  middle  of  last  century  it  was  the  custom  for  a 
gentleman  on  entering  a  room,  to  kiss  the  ladies  all  round 
on  the  cheek.  Had  not  my  French  friend  as  much  right 
to  blush,  as  any  English  young  lady  would  if  I  were  to 


138 


DEESS. 


subject  her  to  the  practice  of  the  charming  but  obsolete 
custom? 

Can  anything  be  more  painfully  ridiculous  than  an  Eng- 
lishman wearing  a  black  silk  hat  and  frock-coat  of  cloth 
under  the  sun  of  the  equator  ?  Yet  such  is  our  want  of 
sense,  or  our  love  of  national  costumes,  however  hideous, 
that  it  is  the  etiquette  in  our  colonies,  whether  in  the 
tropics  or  the  arctic  regions,  to  wear  precisely  the  same  stiff 
hot  court  dress  as  at  St.  James'.  However  this  might  be 
excused  on  the  plea  of  uniformity  in  official  dress,  it  is  no 
excuse  for  the  fashion  which  imposes  the  coat,  &c.  of  Pall 
Mall  on  the  gentleman  of  Calcutta  or  Colombo ;  and  the 
same  may  be  said  of  our  own  fashion  of  wearing  cloth 
clothes  throughout  the  year.  There  is  many  a  summer's 
day  in  England  as  hot  as  any  in  Italy,  and  in  general  the 
difference  between  our  summer  and  that  of  France  and 
America  is,  that  there  the  heat  is  glaring  and  clear,  with 
us,  if  less  powerful,  close  and  oppressive.  Why  then  should 
my  Lord  Fashion  permit  the  Frenchman  and  Yankee  to 
wear  whole  suits  of  white  linen,  and  condemn  us  to  black 
cloth  1  Nothing  can  be  neater  or  prettier,  as  modern  dress 
goes,  than  the  white  coat,  waistcoat,  et  cetera,  with  a  straw 
hat  and  a  bright  blue  tie  ;  but  it  is  something  to  say  against 
it,  that  London  smoke  would  necessitate  a  clean  suit  per 
diem,  which  would  materially  augment  the  washing  expen- 
diture of  our  metropolitan  Beaux  Tibbses.  The  nearest 
approach  we  are  allowed  to  make  to  a  sensible  costume,  on 
days  when  we  should  like  to  follow  Sidney  Smith's  advice, 
by  the  removal  of  our  flesh  and  sitting  in  our  skeletons,  is 
that  of  light  thin  tweeds,  but  even  these  are  not  counte- 
nanced in  St.  James'  and  the  Park,  and  we  must  be  content 
to  take  refuge  in  a  white  waistcoat  and  the  thinnest  possible 
material  for  our  frock-coat.  On  the  other  hand,  as  our 
winters  are  never  very  severe,  we  have  only  to  choose  thicker 
tweeds  of  a  darker  colour  for  that  season,  and  the  wrapper 
or  great-coat  then  becomes  not  nearly  so  important  an 
article  as  the  indispensable  umbrella.    In  this  country, 


APPKOPPJATENESS  TO  OCCASIONS.  139 

therefore,  as  present  fashions  require,  appropriateness  to 
the  season  will  be  easily  acquired  by  a  change  of  material 
and  colour  rather  than  of  form,  in  our  apparel. 

Not  so  the  distinction  to  be  made  according  to  size.  As 
a  rule,  tall  men  require  long  clothes — some  few  perhaps 
even  in  the  nurse's  sense  of  those  words — :and  short  men 
short  clothes.  On  the  other  hand,  Falstaff  should  beware 
of  Jenny  Wren  coats  and  affect  ample  wrappers,  while  Peter 
Schlemihl,  and  the  whole  race  of  thin  men,  must  eschew 
looseness  as  much  in  their  garments  as  their  morals. 

Lastly,  we  come  to  what  is  appropriate  to  different  occa- 
sions, and  as  this  is  an  important  subject,  I  shall  treat  of 
it  separately.  For  the  present  it  is  sufficient  to  point  out 
that  while  every  man  should  avoid  not  only  extravagance, 
but  even  brilliance  of  dress  on  ordinary  occasions,  there  are 
some  on  which  he  may  and  ought  to  pay  more  attention  to 
his  toilet,  and  attempt  to  look  gay.  Of  course,  the  evenings 
are  not  here  meant.  For  evening  dress  there  is  a  fixed  rule, 
from  which  we  can  depart  only  to  be  foppish  or  vulgar  ;  but 
in  morning  dress  there  is  greater  liberty,  and  when  we  un- 
dertake to  mingle  with  those  who  are  assembled  avowedly 
for  gaiety,  we  should  not  make  ourselves  remarkable  by  the 
dinginess  of  our  dress.  Such  occasions  are  open-air  enter- 
tainments, fetes,  flower-shows,  archery-meetings,  matinees, 
and  id  genus  omne,  where  much  of  the  pleasure  to  be  de- 
rived depends  on  the  general  effect  on  the  enjoy ers,  and 
where,  if  we  cannot  pump  up  a  look  of  mirth,  we  should  at 
least,  if  we  go  at  all,  wear  the  semblance  of  it  in  our  dress. 
I  have  a  worthy  little  friend,  who,  I  believe,  is  as  well-dis- 
posed to  his  kind  as  Lord  Shaftesbury  himself,  but  who, 
for  some  reason,  perhaps  a  twinge  of  philosophy  about  him, 
frequents  the  gay  meetings  to  which  he  is  asked  in  an  old 
coat  and  a  wide-awake.  Some  people  take  him  for  a  wit, 
but  he  soon  shows  that  he  does  not  aspire  to  that  character  ; 
others  for  a  philosopher,  but  he  is  too  good-mannered  for 
that ;  others,  poor  man  !  pronounce  him  a  cynic,  and  all 
are  agreed  that  whatever  he  may  be,  he  looks  out  of  place 


140 


DRESS. 


and  spoils  the  general  effect.  I  believe  in  my  heart  that 
he  is  the  mildest  of  men,  but  will  not  take  the  trouble  to 
dress  more  than  once  a  day.  At  any  rate,  he  has  a  charac- 
ter for  eccentricity,  which,  I  am  sure,  is  precisely  what  he 
would  wish  to  avoid.  That  character  is  a  most  delightful 
one  for  a  bachelor,  and  it  is  generally  Coelebs  who  holds  it, 
for  it  has  been  proved  by  statistics  that  there  are  four  single 
to  one  married  man  among  the  inhabitants  of  our  mad-houses ; 
but  eccentricity  yields  a  reputation  which  requires  something 
to  uphold  it,  and  even  in  Diogenes  of  the  Tub  it  was  ex- 
tremely bad  taste  to  force  himself  into  Plato's  evening  party 
without  sandals,  and  nothing  but  a  dirty  tunic  on  him. 

Another  requisite  in  dress  is  its  simplicity,  with  which  I 
may  couple  harmony  of  colour.  This  simplicity  is  the  only 
distinction  which  a  man  of  taste  should  aspire  to  in  the 
matter  of  dress,  but  a  simplicity  in  appearance  must  proceed 
from  a  nicety  in  reality.  One  should  not  be  simply  ill- 
dressed,  but  simply  well-dressed.  Lord  Castlereagh  would 
never  have  been  pronounced  the  most  distinguished  man  in 
the  gay  court  of  Vienna,  because  he  wore  no  orders  or  rib- 
bons among  hundreds  decorated  with  a  profusion  of  those 
vanities,  but  because  besides  this  he  was  dressed  with  taste. 
The  charm  of  Brummell's  dress  was  its  simplicity ;  yet  it 
cost  him  as  much  thought,  time,  and  care,  as  the  portfolio 
of  a  minister.  The  rules  of  simplicity,  therefore,  are  the 
rules  of  taste.  All  extravagance,  all  splendour,  and  all 
profusion,  must  be  avoided.  The  colours,  in  the  first  place, 
must  harmonize  both  with  our  complexion  and  with  one 
another ;  perhaps  most  of  all  with  the  colour  of  our  hair. 
All  bright  colours  should  be  avoided,  such  as  red,  yellow, 
sky-blue,  and  bright  green.  Perhaps  only  a  successful 
Australian  gold-digger  would  think  of  choosing  such  colours 
for  his  coat,  waistcoat,  or  trousers  ;  but  there  are  hundreds 
of  young  men  who  might  select  them  for  their  gloves  and 
neck-ties.  The  deeper  colours  are,  somehow  or  other,  more 
manly,  and  are  certainly  less  striking.  The  same  simplicity 
should  be  studied  in  the  avoidance  of  ornamentation.  A 


JEWELLERY. 


141 


few  years  ago  it  was  the  fashion  to  trim  the  evening  waist- 
coat with  a  border  of  gold  lace.  This  is  an  example  of 
fashions  always  to  be  rebelled  against.  Then,  too,  extrava- 
gance in  the  form  of  our  dress  is  a  sin  against  taste.  I 
remember  that  long  ribbons  took  the  place  of  neck-ties  some 
years  ago.  At  an  Oxford  commemoration,  two  friends  of 
mine  determined  to  cut  a  figure  in  this  matter,  having  little 
else  to  distinguish  them.  The  one  wore  two  yards  of 
bright  pink ;  the  other  the  same  quantity  of  bright  blue 
ribbon  round  their  necks.  I  have  reason  to  believe  they 
think  now  that  they  both  looked  superbly  ridiculous.  In 
the  same  way,  if  the  trousers  are  worn  wide,  we  should  not 
wear  them  as  loose  as  a  Turk's  ;  or  if  the  sleeves  are  to  be 
open,  we  should  not  rival  the  ladies  in  this  matter.  And 
so  on  through  a  hundred  details,  generally  remembering 
that  to  exaggerate  a  fashion  is  to  assume  a  character,  and 
therefore  vulgar.  The  wearing  of  jewellery  comes  under  this 
head.  Jewels  are  an  ornament  to  women,  but  a  blemish 
to  men.  They  bespeak  either  effeminacy  or  a  love  of  dis- 
play. The  hand  of  a  man  is  honoured  in  working,  for 
labour  is  his  mission  •  and  the  hand  that  wears  its  riches  on 
its  fingers,  has  rarely  worked  honestly  to  win  them.  The  best 
jewel  a  man  can  wear  is  his  honour.  Let  that  be  bright  and 
shining,  well  set  in  prudence,  and  all  others  must  darken 
before  it.  But  as  we  are  savages,  and  must  have  some  silly 
trickery  to  hang  about  us,  a  little,  but  very  little  concession 
may  be  made  to  our  taste  in  this  respect.  I  am  quite 
serious  when  I  disadvise  you  from  the  use  of  nose-rings, 
gold  anklets,  and  hat-bands  studded  with  jewels  ;  for  when 
I  see  an  incredulous  young  man  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
dangling  from  his  watch-chain  a  dozen  silly  "  charms" 
(often  the  only  ones  he  possesses),  which  have  no  other  use 
than  to  give  a  fair  coquette  a  legitimate  subject  on  which  to 
approach  to  closer  intimacy,  and  which  are  revived  from 
the  lowest  superstitions  of  dark  ages,  and  sometimes  darker 
races,  I  am  quite  justified  in  believing  that  some  South 
African  chieftain,  sufficiently  rich  to  cut  a  dash  in  London, 


142 


DEESS. 


might  introduce  with  success  the  most  peculiar  fashions  of 
his  own  country.  However  this  may  be,  there  are  already 
sufficient  extravagances  prevalent  among  our  young  men  to 

attack 

The  man  of  good  taste  will  wear  as  little  jewellery  as 
possible.  One  handsome  signet-ring  on  the  little  finger  of 
the  left  hand,  a  scarf-pin  which  is  neither  large  nor  showy 
nor  too  intricate  in  its  design,  and  a  light,  rather  thin 
watch-guard  with  a  cross-bar,  are  all  that  he  ought  to  wear. 
But  if  he  aspires  to  more  than  this,  he  should  observe  the 
following  rules  : — 

1.  Let  everything  be  real  and  good.  False  jewellery  is 
not  only  a  practical  lie,  but  an  absolute  vulgarity,  since  its 
use  arises  from  an  attempt  to  appear  richer  or  grander  than 
its  wearer  is. 

2.  Let  it  be  simple.  Elaborate  studs,  waistcoat-buttons, 
and  wrist-links,  are  all  abominable.  The  last  particularly 
should  be  as  plain  as  possible,  consisting  of  plain  gold  ovals, 
with  at  most  the  crest  engraved  upon  them.  Diamonds 
and  brilliants  are  quite  unsuitable  to  men,  whose  jewellery 
should  never  be  conspicuous.  If  you  happen  to  possess  a 
single  diamond  of  great  value  you  may  wear  it  on  great 
occasions  as  a  ring,  but  no  more  than  one  ring  should  ever 
be  worn  by  a  gentleman. 

3.  Let  it  be  distinguished  rather  by  its  curiosity  than 
its  brilliance.  An  antique  or  bit  of  old  jewellery  possesses 
more  interest,  particularly  if  you  are  able  to  tell  its  history, 
than  the  most  splendid  production  of  the  goldsmith's  shop. 

4.  Let  it  harmonize  with  the  colours  of  your  dress. 

5.  Let  it  have  some  use.  Men  should  never,  like 
women,  wear  jewels  for  mere  ornament,  whatever  may  be 
the  fashion  of  Hungarian  noblemen,  and  deposed  Indian 
rajahs  with  jackets  covered  with  rubies. 

The  precious  stones  are  reserved  for  ladies,  and  even  our 
scarf-pins  are  more  suitable  without  them.  English  taste 
has  also  the  superiority  over  that  of  the  Continent  in  con- 
demning the  wearing  of  orders,  clasps,  and  ribbons,  except 


NEATNESS. 


143 


at  court  or  on  official  occasions.  If  these  are  really  given 
for  merit,  they  will  add  nothing  to  our  fame ;  if,  as  in  nine 
cases  out  of  ten,  they  are  bestowed  merely  because  the 
recipient  has  done  his  duty,  they  may  impose  on  fools,  but 
will,  if  anything,  provoke  only  awkward  inquiries  from 
sensible  men.  If  it  be  permitted  to  flaunt  our  bravery  or 
our  learning  on  the  coat-collar,  as  much  as  to  cry,  like  little 
Jack  Horner,  "  See  what  a  good  boy  ami!"  I  cannot, 
for  my  part,  discover  why  a  curate  should  not  carry  his 
silver  teapot  about  with  him,  or  Mr.  Morison  enlarge  his 
phylacteries  with  a  selection  from  the  one  million  cases  of 
"  almost  miraculous  cures." 

The  dress  that  is  both  appropriate  and  simple  can  never 
offend,  nor  render  its  wearer  conspicuous,  though  it  may 
distinguish  him  for  his  good  taste.  But  it  will  not  be 
pleasing  unless  clean  and  fresh.  We  cannot  quarrel  with 
a  poor  gentleman's  thread-bare  coat,  if  his  linen  be  pure, 
and  we  see  that  he  has  never  attempted  to  dress  beyond 
his  means  or  unsuitably  to  his  station.  But  the  sight  of 
decayed  gentility  and  dilapidated  fashion  may  call  forth  our 
pity,  and  at  the  same  time  prompt  a  moral :  "  You  have 
evidently  sunken,"  we  say  to  ourselves  ;  "  but  whose  fault 
was  it  ?  Am  I  not  led  to  suppose  that  the  extravagance 
which  you  evidently  once  revelled  in  has  brought  you  to 
what  I  now  see  you?"  While  freshness  is  essential  to 
being  well-dressed,  it  will  be  a  consolation  to  those  who 
cannot  afford  a  heavy  tailor's  bill,  to  reflect  that  a  visible 
newness  in  one's  clothes  is  as  bad  as  patches  and  darns,  and 
to  remember  that  there  have  been  celebrated  dressers  who 
would  never  put  on  a  new  coat  till  it  had  been  worn  two 
or  three  times  by  their  valets.  On  the  other  hand,  there 
is  no  excuse — except  at  Donnybrook — for  untidiness,  holes 
in  the  boots,  a  broken  hat,  torn  gloves,  and  so  on.  Indeed, 
it  is  better  to  wear  no  gloves  at  all  than  a  pair  full  of 
holes.  There  is  nothing  to  be  ashamed  of  in  bare  hands  if 
they  are  clean,  and  the  poor  can  still  afford  to  have  their 
shirts  and  shoes  mended,  and  their  hats  ironed.    It  is 


144 


DEESS. 


certainly  better  to  show  signs  of  neatness  than  the  reverse, 
and  you  need  sooner  be  ashamed  of  a  hole  than  a  darn. 

Of  personal  cleanliness  I  have  spoken  at  such  length  that 
little  need  be  said  on  that  of  the  clothes.  If  you  are 
economical  with  your  tailor,  you  can  be  extravagant  with 
your  laundress.  The  beaux  of  forty  years  back  put  on  three 
shirts  a  day,  but  except  in  hot  weather  one  is  sufficient. 
Of  course,  if  you  charjge  your  dress  in  the  evening  you  must 
change  your  shirt  too.  There  has  been  a  great  outcry 
against  coloured  flannel  shirts  in  the  place  of  linen,  and  the 
man  who  can  wear  one  for  three  days  is  looked  on  as  little 
better  than  St.  Simeon  Stylites.  I  should  like  to  know 
how  often  the  advocates  of  linen  change  their  own  under- 
flannel,  and  whether  the  same  rule  does  not  apply  to  what 
is  seen  as  to  what  is  concealed.  But  while  the  flannel  is 
perhaps  healthier  as  absorbing  the  moisture  more  rapidly, 
the  linen  has  the  advantage  of  looking  cleaner,  and  may 
therefore  be  preferred.  As  to  economy,  if  the  flannel  costs 
less  to  wash,  it  also  wears  out  sooner;  but,  be  this  as  it  may, 
a  man's  wardrobe  is  not  complete  without  half  a  dozen  or 
so  of  these  shirts,  which  he  will  find  most  useful,  and  ten 
times  more  comfortable  than  linen  in  long  excursions,  or 
when  exertion  will  be  required.  Flannel,  too,  has  the 
advantage  of  being  warm  in  winter  and  cool  in  summer, 
for,  being  a  non-conductor,  but  a  retainer  of  heat,  it  pro- 
tects the  body  from  the  sun,  and,  on  the  other  hand,  shields 
it  from  the  cold.  But  the  best  shirt  of  all,  particularly  in 
winter,  is  that  which  wily  monks  and  hermits  pretended  to 
wear  for  a  penance,  well  knowing  that  they  could  have  no 
garment  cooler,  more  comfortable,  or  more  healthy.  I  mean, 
of  course,  the  rough  hair-shirt.  Like  flannel,  it  is  a  non- 
conductor of  heat ;  but  then,  too,  it  acts  the  part  of  a  sham- 
pooer,  and  with  its  perpetual  friction  soothes  the  surface  of 
the  skin,  and  prevents  the  circulation  from  being  arrested 
at  any  one  point  of  the  body.  Though  I  doubt  if  any  of 
my  readers  will  take  a  hint  from  the  wisdom  of  the  merry 
anchorites,  they  will  perhaps  allow  me  to  suggest  that  the 


LINEN. 


145 


next  best  thing  to  wear  next  the  skin  is  flannel,  and  that 
too  of  the  coarsest  description. 

Quantity  is  better  than  quality  in  linen.  Nevertheless 
it  should  be  fine  and  well  spun.  The  loose  cuff,  which  we 
borrowed  from  the  French  some  four  years  ago,  is  a  great 
improvement  on  the  old  tight  wrist-band,  and,  indeed,  it 
must  be  borne  in  mind  that  anything  which,  binds  any  part 
of  the  body  tightly  impedes  the  circulation,  and  is  therefore 
unhealthy  as  well  as  ungraceful.  Who  more  hideous  and 
unnatural  than  an  officer  of  the  Russian  or  Austrian  army — 
compelled  to  reduce  his  waist  to  a  certain  size — unless  it  be 
a  dancing-master  in  stays  ?  At  Munich,  I  remember  there 
was  a  somewhat  corpulent  major  of  the  Guards  who,  it  was 
said,  took  two  men  to  buckle  his  belt  in  the  morning,  and 
was  unable  to  speak  for  about  an  hour  after  the  operation. 
His  face,  of  course,  was  of  a  most  unsightly  crimson. 

The  necessity  for  a  large  stock  of  linen  depends  on  a  rule 
far  better  than  Brummell's,  of  three  shirts  a  day,  viz.  : — 

Change  your  linen  whenever  it  is  at  all  dirty. 

This  is  the  best  guide  with  regard  to  collars,  socks,  pocket- 
handkerchiefs,  and  our  under  garments.  No  rule  can  be 
laid  down  for  the  number  we  should  wear  per  week,  for 
everything  depends  on  circumstances.  Thus  in  the  country 
all  our  linen  remains  longer  clean  than  in  London  ;  in  dirty, 
wet,  or  dusty  weather,  our  socks  get  soon  dirty  and  must 
be  changed  ;  or,  if  we  have  a  cold,  to  say  nothing  of  the 
possible  but  not  probable  case  of  tear-shedding  on  the 
departure  of  friends,  or  of  sensitive  young  ladies  over  a 
Crimean  engagement,  we  shall  want  more  than  one  pocket- 
handkerchief  per  diem.  In  fact,  that  last  article  of  modern 
civilisation  is  put  to  so  many  uses,  is  so  much  displayed, 
and  liable  to  be  called  into  action  on  so  many  various  en- 
gagements, that  we  should  always  have  a  clean  one  in  our 
pockets.  "Who  knows  when  it  may  not  serve  us  in  good 
stead  1  Who  can  tell  how  often  the  corner  of  the  delicate 
cambric  will  have  to  represent  a  tear  which,  like  difficult 
passages  in  novels,  is  "  left  to  the  imagination."  Can  a  man 

T 


H6 


DKESS. 


'  of  any  feeling  call  on  a  disconsolate  widow,  for  instance, 
and  listen  to  her  woes,  without  at  least  pulling  out  that 
expressive  appendage  1  Can  any  one  believe  in  our  sympathy 
if  the  article  in  question  is  a  dirty  one  ?  There  are  some 
people  who,  like  the  clouds,  only  exist  to  weep ;  and  King 
Solomon,  though  not  one  of  them,  has  given  them  great 
encouragement  in  speaking  of  the  house  of  mourning.  We 
are  bound  to  weep  with  them,  and  we  are  bound  to  weep 
elegantly. 

A  man  whose  dress  is  neat,  clean,  simple,  and  appro- 
priate, will  pass  muster  anywhere.  But  he  cannot  always 
wear  the  same  clothes,  like  Werther.  The  late  Mr.  Foun- 
tayn  Wilson,  notorious  for  his  wealth  and  stinginess,  thought 
otherwise.  "When  Napoleon  the  First  was  threatening  Eng- 
land, and  there  was  the  same  mania  for  volunteer  corps  as 
now,  he  bought  up  an  immense  quantity  of  grey  cloth,  in 
the  hope  that  the  government  would  give  a  good  price  for 
it  later.  He  was  disappointed,  and  to  make  use  of  his 
purchase,  determined  to  wear  nothing  else  himself  for  the 
rest  of  his  life.  Future  biographers  may  perhaps  invent  a 
similar  story,  to  account  for  Lord  Brougham's  partiality  to 
checked  trousers. 

A  well-dressed  man  does  not  require  so  much  an  exten- 
sive as  a  varied  wardrobe.  He  wants  a  different  costume 
for  every  season  and  every  occasion  ;  but  if  what  he  selects 
is  simple  rather  than  striking,  he  may  appear  in  the  same 
clothes  as  often  as  he  likes,  as  long  as  they  are  fresh  and 
appropriate  to  the  season  and  the  object.  There  are  four 
kinds  of  coats  which  he  must  have :  a  morning-coat,  a  frock- 
coat,  a  dress-coat,  and  an  over-coat.  An  economical  man 
may  do  well  with  four  of  the  first,  and  one  of  each  of  the 
others  per  annum.  George  the  Fourth's  wardrobe  sold  for 
£15,000,  and  a  single  cloak  brought  no  less  than  £800. 
But  George  was  a  king  and  a  beau,  and  in  debt  to  his 
tailor.  The  dress  of  an  English  gentleman  in  the  present 
day  should  not  cost  him  more  than  the  tenth  part  of  his 
income  on  an  average.    But  as  fortunes  vary  more  than 


ESTIMATE  OF  A  WARDROBE. 


147 


position,  if  his  income  is  large  it  will  take  a  much  smaller 
proportion,  if  small  a  larger  one.  But  generally  speaking, 
a  man  with  £300  a  year  should  not  devote  more  than 
£30  to  his  outward  man.  The  seven  coats  in  question  will 
cost  about  £18.  Six  pairs  of  morning,  and  one  of  evening 
trousers,  will  cost  £9.  Four  morning  waistcoats,  and  one 
for  evening,  make  another  £4.  Gloves,  linen,  hats,  scarves 
and  neck-ties,  about  £10,  and  the  important  item  of  boots, 
at  least  £5  more.  This,  I  take  it,  is  a  sufficient  wardrobe 
for  a  well-dressed  man  who  employs  a  moderate  tailor,  and 
the  whole  is  under  £50.  It  is  quite  possible  to  dress 
decently  for  half  that  sum,  and  men  of  small  means  should 
be  content  to  do  so.  If  a  man,  however,  mixes  in  society, 
and  I  write  for  those  who  do  so,  there  are  some  things 
which  are  indispensable  to  even  proper  dressing,  and  every 
occasion  will  have  its  proper  attire. 

In  his  own  house,  then,  and  in  the  morning,  there  is  no 
reason  why  he  should  not  wear  out  his  old  clothes.  Some 
men  take  to  the  delightful  ease  of  a  dressing-gown  and  slip- 
pers ;  and  if  bachelors,  they  do  well.  If  family  men, 
it  will  probably  depend  on  whether  the  lady  or  the  gentle- 
man wears  the  pantaloons.  The  best  walking-dress  for  non- 
professional men  is  a  suit  of  tweed  of  the  same  colour, 
ordinary  boots,  gloves  not  too  dark  for  the  coat,  a  scarf 
with  a  pin  in  winter,  or  a  small  tie  of  one  colour  in  summer, 
a  respectable  black  hat,  and  a  cane.  The  last  item  is  per- 
haps the  most  important,  and  though  its  use  varies  with 
fashion,  I  confess  I  am  sorry  when  I  see  it  go  out.  The 
Englishman  does  not  gesticulate  when  talking,  and  in  con- 
sequence has  nothing  to  do  with  his  hands.  To  put  them 
in  his  pockets  is  the  natural  action,  but  this  gives  an  appear- 
ance of  lounging  insouciance,  or  impudent  determination, 
which  becomes  very  few  men,  if  any.  The  best  substitute 
for  a  walking-stick  is  an  umbrella,  not  a  parasol  unless  it 
be  given  you  by  a  lady  to  carry.  The  main  point  of  the 
walking-dress  is  the  harmony  of  colours,  but  this  should  not 
be  carried  to  the  extent  of  M.  de  Maltzan,  who  some  years 


148 


DRESS. 


ago  made  a  "bet  to  wear  nothing  but  pink  at  Baden-Baden 
for  a  whole  year,  and  had  boots  and  gloves  of  the  same 
lively  hue.  He  won  his  wager,  but  also  the  soubriquet  of 
"  Le  Diable  ennammeV'  The  walking-dress  should  vary 
according  to  the  place  and  hour.  In  the  country  or  at  the 
sea-side  a  straw  hat  or  wide-awake  may  take  the  place  of 
the  beaver,  and  the  nuisance  of  gloves  be  even  dispensed 
with  in  the  former.  But  in  London,  where  a  man  is  sup- 
posed to  make  visits  as  well  as  lounge  in  the  Park,  the  frock 
coat  of  very  dark  blue  or  black,  or  a  black  cloth  cut-away, 
the  white  waistcoat,  and  lavender  gloves,  are  almost  indis- 
pensable. Very  thin  boots  should  be  avoided  at  all  times, 
and  whatever  clothes  one  wears  they  should  be  well  brushed. 
The  shirt,  whether  seen  or  not,  should  be  quite  plain.  The 
shirt-collar  should  never  have  a  colour  on  it,  but  it  may  be 
stiff  or  turned  down  according  as  the  wearer  is  Byronically 
or  Brummellically  disposed.  The  scarf,  if  simple  and  of 
modest  colours,  is  perhaps  the  best  thing  we  can  wear  round 
the  neck  ;  but  if  a  neck-tie  is  preferred  it  should  not  be  too 
long,  nor  tied  in  too  stiff  and  studied  a  manner.  Brummell 
made  his  reputation  by  the  knot  of  his  cravat,  and  even  in 
so  tiny  a  trifle  a  man  may  show  his  taste  or  his  want  of  it. 
The  cane  should  be  extremely  simple,  a  mere  stick  in  fact, 
with  no  gold  head,  and  yet  for  the  town  not  rough,  thick, 
or  clumsy ;  nor  of  the  style  beloved  of  Corporal  Shanks  of 
the  Fusileers.  The  frock-coat  should  be  ample  and  loose, 
and  a  tall  well-built  man  may  throw  it  back.  At  any  rate, 
it  should  never  be  buttoned  up.  Great-coats  are  so  little 
worn  in  this  country  that  I  need  say  little  about  them.  If 
worn  at  all  they  should  be  buttoned  up,  of  a  dark  colour, 
not  quite  black,  longer  than  the  frock  coat,  but  never  long 
enough  to  reach  the  ankles.  If  you  have  visits  to  make 
you  should  do  away  with  the  great-coat,  if  the  weather 
allows  you  to  do  so.  On  the  Continent  it  is  always  removed 
before  entering  a  drawing-room,  but  not  so  in  England. 
The  frock-coat,  or  black  cut-away,  with  a  white  waistcoat  in 
summer,  is  the  best  dress  for  making  calls  in. 


STYLE  IN  MORNING-  DRESS. 


149 


It  is  certainly  very  hard  that  a  man  may  not  wear  what 
he  likes,  and  that  if  I  have  a  fancy  to  grandeur,  and  a  fine 
pair  of  shoulders,  I  may  not  be  allowed  to  strut  along  Pall 
Mall  in  a  Eoman  toga  ;  or  having  lost  a  seventeenth  cousin 
removed,  am  forbidden  by  the  laws — at  least  those  of  Po- 
liceman Z  500,  who  most  certainly  would  insist  on  my 
"  moving  on" — to  array  myself  in  a  paletot  of  sackcloth, 
with  a  unique  head-dress  of  well-sifted  cinders ;  but  so  it 
is,  and  if  my  relatives  did  not  commit  me  to  the  walls  of 
some  delightful  suburban  "  Ketreat,"  patronized  by  Doctor 
Conolly,  and  make  the  toga  an  excuse  for  appropriating 
my  small  income, — even  if  the  small  boys  would  let  me 
alone,  and  I  could  walk  without  a  band  of  self-appointed 
and  vociferous  retainers,  there  would  still  be  that  terrible 
monosyllable,  snob,  to  cure  me  in  a  moment  of  a  weakness 
for  classical  attire.  I  will  not  enlighten  you  as  to  the 
amount  of  horror  I  feel  at  the  mere  mention  of  that  title  ; 
I  will  only  say  that  those  who  do  not  care  whether  the 
title  is  given  them  or  not,  can  afford  to  dress  in  any  style 
they  like.  Those  who  do,  on  the  other  hand,  must  avoid 
certain  articles  of  attire  which  are  either  obsolete  or  pecu- 
liar to  a  class.  Thus  unless  a  man  is  really  a  groom,  why 
should  he  aspire  to  be  like  one  %  Why  should  he  compress 
his  lower  limbs  into  the  very  tightest  of  garments,  made 
for  a  man  of  seven  feet  high,  and  worn  by  one  of  five, 
necessitating  in  consequence  a  peculiar  wrinkling  from  the 
foot  to  the  knee,  which  seems  to  find  immense  favour  in 
the  eyes  of  the  stable-boy.  Unless  you  are  a  prize-fighter, 
again,  why  should  you  patronize  a  neck-tie  of  "Waterloo 
blue  with  white  spots  on  it,  commonly  known  as  the 
"  bird's-eye"  pattern,  and  much  affected  by  candidates  for 
the  champion's  belt.  If  your  lot  has  not  been  cast  behind 
the  counter  of  a  haberdasher,  can  there  be  any  obvious 
reason  why  you  should  clothe  your  nether  man  in  a  stuff  of 
the  largest  possible  check,  and  the  most  vivid  colours  ?  Or 
if  fortune  did  not  select  you  for  a  "  light"  in  some  sect, 
or  at  any  rate  for  the  position  of  a  small  tradesman,  can 


150 


DRESS. 


you  on  any  plausible  grounds  defend  the  fact  that  you  are 
seen  in  the  morning  in  a  swallow-tail  black  cloth  coat,  and 
a  black  satin  tie  1  Kay,  if  like  Mr.  Fountayn  Wilson,  you 
had  been  speculating  in  cloth,  black  instead  of  grey,  and 
had  twenty  thousand  yards  on  your  hands,  you  must  on  no 
consideration  put  any  of  them  on  your  legs  before  a  certain 
hour  of  the  evening.  Of  course  you  may,  if  you  please, 
wear  jockey  trousers,  broad  patterns,  bird's-eye  handker- 
chiefs, tail-coats,  and  black  cloth,  at  any  hour  of  the  day, 
and  in  any  portion  of  the  civilized  world,  but  it  will  be 
under  pain  and  penalty  of  being  dubbed  by  that  terrible 
monosyllable,  which  nothing  could  induce  me  to  repeat. 
No,  it  must  be  a  shooting-coat  of  any  cut  or  colour,  or  a 
frock-coat  that  is  dark,  or  in  winter  an  over-coat,  but  it 
may  never  be  a  tail-coat,  and  so  on  with  the  rest.  You 
may  dress  like  a  bargee,  in  shorts  and  grey  stockings,  like 
a  chimney-sweep  in  the  deepest  mourning,  like  a  coster- 
monger,  a  coalheaver,  a  shoeblack,  or  as  M.  de  Maltzan 
did,  like  "  Sa  Majestd  d'en  bas,"  and  you  will  either  be 
taken  for  a  bargee,  chimney-sweep,  costermonger,  coal- 
heaver,  shoeblack,  or  demon,  or  you  will  be  set  down  as 
eccentric  :  but  if,  while  not  discarding  your  ordinary  attire, 
you  adopt  some  portion  peculiar  to  a  class  below  you,  you 
will,  I  regret  to  say,  be,  certainly  most  uncharitably,  en- 
titled only  a  snob. 

So  much  for  morning  dress. 

It  is  simple  nonsense  to  talk  of  modern  civilisation,  and 
rejoice  that  the  cruelties  of  the  dark  ages  can  never  be  per- 
petrated in  these  days  and  this  country.  I  maintain  that 
they  are  perpetrated  freely,  generally,  daily,  with  the  con- 
sent of  the  wretched  victim  himself,  in  the  compulsion  to 
wear  evening  clothes.  Is  there  anything  at  once  more 
comfortless  or  more  hideous  1  Let  us  begin  with  what  the 
delicate  Americans  call  limb-covers,  which  we  are  told 
were  the  invention  of  the  Gauls,  but  I  am  inclined  to 
think,  of  a  much  worse  race,  for  it  is  clearly  an  anachronism 
to  ascribe  the  discovery  to  a  Venetian  called  Piantaleone, 


LIMB-CO  VEES. 


• 

151 


and  it  can  only  have  been  Inquisitors  or  demons  who  in- 
flicted this  scourge  on  the  race  of  man,  and  his  ninth- 
parts,  the  tailors,  for  I  take  it  that  both  are  equally- 
bothered  by  the  tight  pantaloon.  Let  us  pause  awhile 
over  this  unsightly  garment,  and  console  ourselves  with  the 
reflection  that  as  eveiy  country,  and  almost  every  year,  has 
a  different  fashion  in  its  make  of  it,  we  may  at  last  be 
emancipated  from  it  altogether,  or  at  least  be  able  to  wear 
ltd,  la  Turque. 

Whenever  I  call  at  a  great  house,  which,  as  I  am  a 
writer  on  etiquette,  must — of  course — be  very  often,  I 
confess  to  feeling  a  most  trying  insignificance  in  the  presence 
of  the  splendid  Mercury  who  ushers  me  in.  Why  is  this  1 
Neither  physically,  mentally,  by  position,  education,  nor 
genius,  am  I  his  inferior,  and  yet  I  shrink  before  him.  On 
the  other  hand,  if  it  is  a  butler  in  plain  clothes  who  admits 
me,  like  Bob  Acres,  I  feel  all  my  courage  ooze  back  again. 
I  gave  my  nights,  long  and  sleepless,  to  the  consideration 
of  this  problem,  and  have  now  arrived  at  a  satisfactory 
explanation.  It  is  not  the  tall  figure  and  magnificent 
whiskers ;  it  is  not  the  gold  lace  and  rich  redplush  ;  it  is 
not  the  majestically  indifferent  air  of  John  Thomas  that 
appals  me ;  it  is  the  consciousness  that  my  legs — my,  as  a 
man,  most  important  and  distinctive  limbs — are  in  an 
inferior  position  to  his.  As  an  artist,  I  cannot  but  recog- 
nise the  superior  beauty  of  his  figure.  And  for  this  dis- 
grace, this  ignominy  I  suffer,  I  have  to  thank  the  Celts 
with  their  braccce,  and  the  bad  taste  of  some  calfless 
monarch  or  leader  of  fashion — probably  a  German,  for  all 
Germans  have  bad  taste  and  bad  legs — who  revived  this 
odious,  long  obsolete  instrument  of  personal  torture.  It  is 
nothing  less,  believe  me.  Independent  of  a  loss  of  personal 
beauty,  there  is  the  unhealthiness  of  a  tight  garment  cling- 
ing to  the  very  portion  which  we  exercise  most,  and  which 
most  demands  a  free  circulation.  It  is  true,  that  the  old- 
fashioned  breeches,  if  too  tightly  fastened  round  the  knee, 
produced  the  same  effect,  and  Maria  Macklin,  a  celebrated 


152 


DRESS. 


actress  of  male  characters,  almost  lost  her  leg  by  vanity  in 
the  matter  of  "  Honi  soit  qui  mal  y  pense but,  after  all, 
what  is  not  a  cool  stocking  to  a  hot  bag  of  thick  stuff 
round  the  leg ;  how  far  preferable  the  freedom  of  trunk- 
hose,  to  the  hardly  fought  liberty  of  the  "  peg-top"  trousers. 
But  it  is  not  all  trousers  that  I  rebel  against.  If  I  might 
wear  linen  appendices  in  summer,  and  fur  continuations  in 
winter,  I  would  not  groan,  but  it  is  the  evening  dress  that 
inflicts  on  the  man  who  likes  society  the  necessity  of  wear- 
ing the  same  trying  cloth  all  the  year  round,  so  that  under 
Boreas  he  catches  colds,  and  under  the  dog-star  he'  melts. 
They  manage  these  things  better  abroad.  In  America  a 
man  may  go  to  a  ball  in  white  ducks.  In  France  he  has 
the  option  of  light  grey.  But  in  England  we  are  doomed 
for  ever  to  buckskin.  This  unmentionable  but  most  neces- 
sary disguise  of  the  "  human  form  divine,"  is  one  that 
never  varies  in  this  country,  and  therefore  I  must  lay  down 
the  rule  : — 

For  all  evening  wear  black  cloth  trousers. 

But  the  tortures  of  evening  dress  do  not  end  with  our 
lower  limbs.  Of  all  the  iniquities  perpetrated  under  the 
Reign  of  Terror,  none  has  lasted  so  long  as  that  of  the 
strait-jacket,  which  was  palmed  off  on  the  people  as  a 
"  habit  de  compagnie."  If  it  were  necessary  to  sing  a 
hymn  of  praise  to  Robespierre,  Marat,  and  Co.,  I  would 
rather  take  the  guillotine  as  my  subject  to  extol  than  the 
swallow  tail.  And  yet  we  endure  the  stiffness,  unsightli- 
ness,  uncomfortableness,  and  want  of  grace  of  the  latter, 
with  more  resignation  than  that  with  which  Charlotte 
Corday  put  her  beautiful  neck  into  the  "  trou  d'enfer"  of 
the  former.  Fortunately  modern  republicanism  has  triumph- 
ed over  ancient  etiquette,  and  the  tail-coat  of  to-day  is 
looser  and  more  easy  than  it  was  twenty  years  ago.  I  can 
only  say,  let  us  never  strive  to  make  it  bearable,  till  we 
have  abolished  it.  Let  us  abjure  such  vulgarities  as  silk 
collars,  white  silk  linings,  and  so  forth,  which  attempt  to 
beautify  this  monstrosity,  as  a  hangman  might  wreathe  his 


EVENING-DRESS. 


153 


gallows  with  roses.  The  plainer  the  manner  in  which  you 
wear  your  misery,  the  better. 

Then  again  the  black  waistcoat,  stiff,  tight,  and  comfort- 
less. Fancy  Falstaff  in  a  ball-dress  such  as  we  now  wear. 
jSTo  amount  of  embroidery,  gold-trimmings,  or  jewel-buttons, 
will  render  such  an  infliction  grateful  to  the  mass.  The 
best  plan  is  to  wear  thorough  mourning  for  your  wretched- 
ness. In  France  and  America,  the  cooler  white  waistcoat 
is  admitted.  We  have  scouted  it,  and  left  it  to  aldermen 
and  shopkeepers.  Would  I  were  an  alderman  or  a  shop- 
keeper in  the  middle  of  July,  when  I  am  compelled  to 
dance  in  a  full  attire  of  black  cloth.  However,  as  we  have 
it,  let  us  make  the  best  of  it,  and  not  parade  our  misery 
by  hideous  ornamentation.  The  only  evening  waistcoat  for 
all  purposes  for  a  man  of  taste  is  one  of  simple  black  cloth, 
with  the  simplest  possible  buttons. 

These  three  items  never  vary  for  dinner-party,  muffin- 
worry,  or  ball.  The  only  distinction  allowed  is  in  the 
neck-tie.  For  dinner,  the  opera,  and  balls,  this  must  be 
white,  and  the  smaller  the  better.  It  should  be,  too,  of  a 
washable  texture,  not  silk,  nor  netted,  nor  hanging  down, 
nor  of  any  foppish  production,  but  a  simple  white  tie  with- 
out embroidery.  The  black  tie  is  only  admitted  for  evening 
parties,  and  should  be  equally  simple.  The  shirt-front  which 
figures  under  the  tie  should  be  plain,  with  unpretending 
small  plaits.  All  the  elaborations  which  the  French  have 
introduced  among  us  in  this  particular,  and  the  custom  of 
wearing  pink  under  the  shirt,  are  an  abomination  to  party- 
goers.  The  glove  must  be  white,  not  yellow.  Recently, 
indeed,  a  fashion  has  sprung  up  of  wealing  lavender  gloves 
in  the  evening.  They  are  economical,  and  as  all  economy 
is  an  abomination,  must  be  avoided.  Gloves  should  always 
be  worn  at  a  ball.  At  a  dinner-party  in  town  they  should 
be  worn  on  entering  the  room,  and  drawn  off  for  dinner. 
While,  on  the  one  hand,  we  must  avoid  the  awkwardness 
of  a  gallant  sea-captain  who,  wearing  no  gloves  at  a  dance, 
excused  himself  to  his  partner  by  saying,  "  Never  mind, 


154 


DRESS. 


Miss,  I  can  wash  my  hands  when  I've  done  dancing,"  we 
have  no  need  in  the  present  day  to  copy  the  Roman  gentle- 
man mentioned  by  Athenseus,  who  wore  gloves  at  dinner 
that  he  might  pick  his  meat  from  the  hot  dishes  more 
rapidly  than  the  bare-handed  guests.  As  to  gloves  at  tea- 
parties  and  so  forth,  we  are  generally  safer  with  than  with- 
out them.  If  it  is  quite  a  small  party,  we  may  leave  them 
in  our  pocket,  and  in  the  country  they  are  scarcely  expected 
to  be  worn  ;  but  "  touch  not  a  cat  but  with  a  glove you 
are  always  safer  with  them. 

Not  so  in  the  matter  of  the  hat.  In  France  and  Ger- 
many the  hat  is  brought  into  a  ball-room  and  drawing-room 
under  all  circumstances,  and  great  is  the  confusion  arising 
therefrom,  a  man  having  every  chance  of  finding  his  new 
hat  exchanged  for  an  old  one  under  a  seat.  I  once  walked 
home  from  a  German  ball  as  bare-headed  as  a  friar,  some 
well-dressed  robber  having  not  only  exchanged  his  hat  with 
mine,  but  to  prevent  detection  carried  off  his  own  too. 
I  shall  not  easily  forget  the  consternation  in  an  English 
party  to  which  I  went  soon  after  my  return  from  the  Con- 
tinent, unconsciously  carrying  in  my  hat,  and  the  host  could 
not  restrain  some  small  facetious  allusion  to  it,  when  I 
looked  for  it  under  the  table  before  going  away.  A  "  Gibus" 
prevents  all  such  difficulties ;  yet  as  a  general  rule  in  Eng- 
land the  hat  should  be  left  outside. 

I  must  not  quit  this  subject  without  assuring  myself  that 
my  reader  knows  more  about  it  now  than  he  did  before. 
In  fact  I  have  taken  one  thing  for  granted,  viz.,  that  he 
knows  what  it  is  to  be  dressed,  and  what  undressed.  Of 
course  I  do  not  suppose  him  to  be  in  the  blissful  state  of 
ignorance  on  the  subject  once  enjoyed  by  our  first  parents. 
I  use  the  words  "  dressed"  and  "  undressed"  rather  in  the 
sense  meant  by  a  military  tailor,  or  a  cook  with  reference 
to  a  salad.  You  need  not  be  shocked.  I  am  one  of  those 
people  who  wear  spectacles  for  fear  of  seeing  anything  with 
the  naked  eye.  I  am  the  soul  of  scrupulosity.  But  I  am 
wondering  whether  everybody  arranges  his  wardrobe  as  our 


DEEST,  TJNDEEST,  AND  MUCH  DEEST.  155 

ungrammatical  nurses  used  to  do  ours,  under  the '  heads  of 
"  best,  second-best,  third-best,"  and  so  on,  and  knows  what 
things  ought  to  be  placed  under  each.  To  be  "  undressed" 
is  to  be  dressed  for  work  and  ordinary  occupations,  to  wear 
a  coat  which  you  do  not  fear  to  spoil,  and  a  neck- tie  which 
your  inkstand  will  not  object  to,  but  your  acquaintance 
might.  To  be  "  dressed,"  on  the  other  hand,  since  by 
dress  we  show  our  respect  for  society  at  large,  or  the  per- 
sons with  whom  we  are  to  mingle,  is  to  be  clothed  in  the 
garments  which  the  said  society  pronounces  as  suitable  to 
particular  occasions  ;  so  that  evening  dress  in  the  morning, 
morning  dress  in  the  evening,  and  top  boots  and  a  red  coat 
for  walking,  may  all  be  called  "  undress,"  if  not  positively 
"  bad  dress."  But  there  are  shades  of  being  "  dressed 
and  a  man  is  called  "  little  dressed,"  "  well  dressed,"  and 
"  much  dressed,"  not  according  to  the  quantity  but  the 
quality  of  his  coverings.  The  diminutive  jockey,  whom  I 
meet  in  my  walks  a  month  before  the  Derby,  looking  like  a 
ball  of  clothes,  and  undergoing  a  most  uncomfortable  process 
of  liquefaction  which  he  denominates  "  training,"  is  by  no 
means  "  much  dressed"  because  he  wears  two  great-coats, 
three  thick  waistcoats,  and  the  same  number  of  "  com- 
forters." To  be  "little  dressed"  is  to  wear  old  things,  of 
a  make  that  is  no  longer  the  fashion,  having  no  pretension 
to  elegance,  artistic  beauty,  or  ornament.  It  is  also  to  wear 
lounging  clothes  on  occasions  which  demand  some  amount 
of  precision.  To  be  "  much  dressed"  is  to  be  in  the  extreme 
of  the  fashion,  with  bran  new  clothes,  jewellery,  and  orna- 
ments, with  a  touch  of  extravagance  and  gaiety  in  your 
colours.  Thus  to  wear  patent  leather  boots  and  yellow 
gloves  in  a  quiet  morning  stroll  is  to  be  much  dressed,  and 
certainly  does  not  differ  immensely  from  being  badly  dressed. 
To  be  "  well  dressed"  is  the  happy  medium  between  these 
two,  which  is  not  given  to  every  one  to  hold,  inasmuch  as  good 
taste  is  rare,  and  is  a  sine  qua  non  thereof.  Thus  while  you 
avoid  ornament  and  all  fastness,  you  must  cultivate  fashion, 
that  is  good  fashion,  in  the  make  of  your  clothes.    A  man 


156 


DRESS. 


must  not  be  made  by  his  tailor,  but  should  make  him, 
educate  him,  give  him  his  own  good  taste.  To  be  well 
dressed  is  to  be  dressed  precisely  as  the  occasion,  place, 
weather,  your  height,  figure,  position,  age,  and,  remember 
it,  your  means  require.  It  is  to  be  clothed  without  pecu- 
liarity, pretension,  or  eccentricity  ;  without  violent  colours, 
elaborate  ornament,  or  senseless  fashions,  introduced  often 
by  tailors  for  their  own  profit.  Good  dressing  is  to  wear 
as  little  jewellery  as  possible,  to  be  scrupulously  neat,  clean, 
and  fresh,  and  to  carry  your  clothes  as  if  you  did  not  give 
them  a  thought. 

Then  too  there  is  a  scale  of  honour  among  clothes,  which 
must  not  be  forgotten.  Thus,  a  new  coat  is  more  honour- 
able than  an  old  one,  a  cut-away  or  shooting-coat  than  a 
dressing-gown,  a  frock-coat  than  a  cut-away,  a  dark  blue 
frock-coat  than  a  black  frock-coat,  a  tail-coat  than  a  frock- 
coat.  There  is  no  honour  at  all  in  a  blue  tail-coat,  how- 
ever, except  on  a  gentleman  of  eighty,  accompanied  with 
brass  buttons  and  a  buff  waistcoat.  There  is  more  honour 
in  an  old  hunting-coat  than  in  a  new  one,  in  a  uniform  with 
a  bullet-hole  in  it  than  one  without,  in  a  fustian  jacket  and 
smock-frock  than  in  a  frock-coat,  because  they  are  types  of 
labour,  which  is  far  more  honourable  than  lounging.  Again, 
light  clothes  are  generally  placed  above  dark  ones,  because 
they  cannot  be  so  long  worn,  and  are  therefore  proofs  of 
expenditure,  alias  money,  which  in  this  world  is  a  com- 
modity more  honoured  than  every  other ;  but  on  the  other 
hand,  tasteful  dress  is  always  more  honourable  than  that 
which  has  only  cost  much.  Light  gloves  are  more  esteemed 
than  dark  ones,  and  the  prince  of  glove-colours  is  undeniably 
lavender. 

"  I  should  say  Jones  was  a  fast  man,"  said  a  friend  to 
me  one  day,  "  for  he  wears  a  white  hat."  If  this  idea  of 
my  companion  s  be  right,  fastness  may  be  said  to  consist 
mainly  in  peculiarity.  There  is  certainly  only  one  step 
from  the  sublimity  of  fastness  to  the  ridiculousness  of  snob- 
bery, and  it  is  not  always  easy  to  say  where  the  one  ends 


STYLES  OF  DRESS. 


157 


and  the  other  begins.  A  dandy,  on  the  other  hand,  is  the 
clothes  on  a  man,  not  a  man  in  clothes,  a  living  lay  figure 
who  displays  much  dress,  and  is  quite  satisfied  if  you  praise 
it  without  taking  heed  of  him.  A  bear  is  in  the  opposite 
extreme  ;  never  dressed  enough,  and  always  very  roughly  ; 
but  he  is  almost  as  bad  as  the  other,  for  he  sacrifices  every- 
thing to  his  ease  and  comfort.  The  off-hand  style  of  dress 
only  suits  an  off-hand  character.  It  was  at  one  time  the 
fashion  to  affect  a  certain  negligence,  which  was  called 
poetic,  and  supposed  to  be  the  result  of  genius.  An  ill-tied, 
if  not  positively  untied  cravat  was  a  sure  sign  of  an  un- 
bridled imagination  ;  and  a  waistcoat  was  held  together  by 
one  button  only,  as  if  the  swelling  soul  in  the  wearer's 
bosom  had  burst  all  the  rest.  If  in  addition  to  this  the 
hair  was  unbrushed  and  curly,  you  were  certain  of  passing 
for  a  "  man  of  soul."  I  should  not  recommend  any  young 
gentleman  to  adopt  this  style,  unless  indeed  he  can  mouth 
a  great  deal,  and  has  a  good  stock  of  quotations  from  the 
poets.  It  is  of  no  use  to  show  me  the  clouds,  unless  I  can 
positively  see  you  in  them,  and  no  amount  of  negligence  in 
your  dress  and  person  will  convince  me  you  are  a  genius, 
unless  you  produce  an  octavo  volume  of  poems  published  by 
yourself.  I  confess  I  am  glad  that  the  neglige  style,  so 
common  in  novels  of  ten  years  back,  has  been  succeeded  by 
neatness.  What  we  want  is  real  ease  in  the  clothes,  and 
for  my  part  I  should  rejoice  to  see  the  Knickerbocker  style 
generally  adopted. 

Besides  the  ordinary  occasions  treated  of  before,  there 
are  several  special  occasions  requiring  a  change  of  dress. 
Most  of  our  sports,  together  with  marriage  (which  some 
people  include  in  the  sports),  and  going  to  court,  come 
under  this  head.  Now  with  the  exception  of  the  last,  the 
less  change  we  make  the  better  in  the  present  day, 
particularly  in  sports,  where,  if  we  are  dressed  with 
scrupulous  accuracy,  we  are  liable  to  be  subjected  to  a 
comparison  between  our  clothes  and  our  skill.  A  man 
who  wears  a  red  coat  to  hunt  in,  should  be  able  to  hunt,  and 


158 


DRESS. 


not  sneak  through  gates  or  dodge  over  gaps.  Of  wedding- 
dress  and  court-dress  we  shall  speak  in  separate  chapters 
under  the  heads  of  "  Marriage"  and  "  The  Court."  But  a 
few  remarks  on  dresses  worn  in  different  sports  may  be 
useful.  Having  laid  down  the  rule  that  a  strict  accuracy 
of  sporting  costume  is  no  longer  in  good  taste,  we  can 
dismiss  shooting  and  fishing  at  once,  with  the  warning 
that  we  must  not  dress  well  for  either.  An  old  coat  with 
large  pockets,  gaiters  in  one  case,  and,  if  necessary,  large 
boots  in  the  other,  thick  shoes  at  any  rate,  a  wide-awake, 
and  a  well-filled  bag  or  basket  at  the  end  of  the  day,  make 
up  a  most  respectable  sportsman  of  the  lesser  kind.  Then 
for  cricket  you  want  nothing  more  unusual  than  flannel 
trousers,  which  should  be  quite  plain,  unless  your  club  has 
adopted  some  coloured  stripe  thereon,  a  coloured  flannel 
shirt  of  no  very  violent  hue,  the  same-coloured  cap,  shoes 
with  spikes  in  them,  and  a  great-coat. 

For  hunting,  lastly,  you  have  to  make  more  change,  if 
only  to  insure  your  own  comfort  and  safety.  Thus  cord- 
breeches  and  some  kind  of  boots  are  indispensable.  So  are 
spurs,  so  a  hunting-whip  or  crop  ;  so  too,  if  you  do  not 
wear  a  hat,  is  the  strong  round  cap  that  is  to  save  your 
valuable  skull  from  cracking  if  you  are  thrown  on  your 
head.  Again,  I  should  pity  the  man  who  would  attempt 
to  hunt  in  a  frock-coat  or  a  dress-coat  ;  and  a  scarf  with  a 
pin  in  it  is  much  more  convenient  than  a  tie.  But  beyond 
these  you  need  nothing  out  of  the  common  way,  but  a 
pocketful  of  money.  The  red  coat,  for  instance,  is  only 
worn  by  regular  members  of  a  hunt,  and  boys  from  Oxford 
who  ride  over  the  hounds  and  like  to  display  their  "  pinks." 
In  any  case  you  are  better  with  an  ordinary  riding-coat  of 
dark  colour,  though  undoubtedly  the  red  is  prettier  in  the 
field.  If  you  will  wear  the  latter,  see  that  it  is  cut 
square,  for  the  swallow-tail  is  obsolete,  and  worn  only  by 
the  fine  old  boys  who  "  hunted,  sir,  fifty  years  ago,  sir^ 
when  I  was  a  boy  of  fifteen,  sir.  Those  were  hunting  days, 
sir ;  such  runs  and  such  leaps."  Again,  your  "  cords"  should 


HUNHNG-COSTUME. 


159 


be  light  in  colour  and  fine  in  quality ;  your  waistcoat,  if  with 
a  red  coat,  quite  light  too  ;  your  scarf  of  cashmere,  of  a 
buff  colour,  and  fastened  with  a  small  simple  gold  pin ; 
your  hat  should  be  old,  and  your  cap  of  dark  green  or 
black  velvet,  plated  inside,  and  with  a  small  stiff  peak,  should 
be  made  to  look  old.  Lastly,  for  a  choice  of  boots.  The 
Hessians  are  more  easily  cleaned,  and  therefore  less  ex- 
pensive to  keep  ;  the  "  tops"  are  more  natty.  Brummeli, 
who  cared  more  for  the  hunting-dress  than  the  hunting 
itself,  introduced  the  fashion  of  pipe-claying  the  tops  of  the 
latter,  but  the  old  original  "mahoganies,"  of  which  the 
upper  leathers  are  simply  polished,  seem  to  be  coming  into 
fashion  again. 

"We  shall  now  pass  to  a  subject  which,  in  every  respect, 
is  a  much  larger  and  more  delicate  one  ;  larger  in  the  space 
it  covers  in  the  surface  of  the  globe  ;  larger  in  the  number 
of  items  which  go  to  make  it  up  ;  larger  in  the  expendi- 
ture it  demands  ;  and  larger  in  the  respect  of  the  atten- 
tion paid  to  it.  If  it  takes  nine  tailors  .to  make  a  man, 
it  must  surely  require  nine  women  to  make  a  thorough 
milliner. 


CHAPTER  IV. 


lady's  dress. 

Far  from  being  of  the  opinion  expressed  by  Catharine 
of  Arragon  that  "dressing  time  is  murdered  time,"  the 
woman,  we  are  apt  to  think,  who  has  not  some  natural 
taste  in  dress,  some  love  of  novelty,  some  delight  in  the 
combination  of  colours,  is  deficient  in  a  sense  of  the  beau- 
tiful.   As  a  work  of  art,  a  well-dressed  woman  is  a  study. 

That  a  love  of  dress  is  natural  in  woman,  and  that  it 
has  some  great  advantages,  is  so  plain  as  to  be  scarcely 
worth  recording.  It  does  not  follow  that  it  should  en- 
gross every  other  taste  ;  it  is  only  the  coquette's  heart, 
which,  as  Addison  describes  it,  is  stuffed  with  "  a  flame- 
coloured  hood."  From  the  days  of  Anne  Boleyn,  who 
varied  her  dress  every  day,  and  who  wore  a  small  kerchief 
over  her  round  neck  to  conceal  a  mark  thereon,  and  a  falling 
sleeve  to  hide  her  doubly-tipped  little  finger,  dress  has  had 
its  place  in  the  heart  of  Englishwomen.  And  it  is  as  well 
that  it  should  do  so  ;  for  the  dowdy,  be  she  young  or  be 
she  old,  is  sure  to  hear  of  her  deficiencies  from  her  husband, 
if  she  has  not  already  done  so  from  brothers  and  fancy 
cousins.  Indifference  and  consequent  inattention  to  dress 
often  show  pedantry,  self-righteousness,  or  indolence  ;  and 
whilst  extolled  by  the  "  unco  gude"  as  a  virtue,  may  be 
noted  as  a  defect.  Every  woman  should,  habitually,  make 
the  best  of  herself.  We  dress  out  our  receiving-rooms  with 
natural  flowers  ;  are  their  inmates  to  look  inconsistent  with 
the  drawing-room  over  which  they  preside  ?  We  make  our 
160 


THE  LOVE  OF  DRESS. 


161 


tables  gorgeous,  or  at  all  events  seemly,  with  silver,  ^lass, 
and  china  ;  wherefore  should  our  wives  be  less  attractive 
than  all  around  thern  1  Amongst  the  rich  and  great,  the 
love  of  dress  promotes  some  degree  of  exertion  and  display 
of  taste  in  themselves,  and  fosters  ingenuity  and  industry 
in  inferiors  ;  in  the  middle  classes  it  engenders  contrivance, 
diligence,  neatness  of  hand  :  among  the  humbler  it  has  its 
good  effects.  But  in  thus  giving  a  love  of  dress  its  due, 
the  taste,  the  consistency,  and  the  practicability  of  dress 
are  kept  in  view ;  the  devotion  to  dress  which  forms,  in 
France,  a  "  Science  apart,"  and  which  occupies,  it  must  be 
allowed,  many,  too  many  an  Englishwoman's  head,  is  not 
only  selfish,  but  contemptible.  So  long  as  dress  merely 
interests,  amuses,  occupies  only  such  time  as  we  can  rea- 
sonably allot  to  it,  it  is  salutary.  It  prevents  women 
from  indulging  in  sentiment ;  is  a  remedy  for  maladies 
imaginaires  ;  it  somewhat  refines  the  tastes  and  the  habits, 
and  gives  satisfaction  and  pleasure  to  others. 

Besides,  an  attention  to  dress  is  almost  requisite  in  the 
present  state  of  society ;  a  due  influence  in  which  cannot 
be  attained  without  it.  It  is  useful,  too,  as  retaining,  even 
in  the  minds  of  sensible  men,  that  pride  in  a  wife's  appear- 
ance which  is  so  agreeable  to  her,  and  which  materially 
fades  during  the  gradual  decay  of  personal  attractions. 
"  Xo  one  looked  better  than  my  wife  did  to-night,"  is  a 
sentence  which  one  often  rejoices  to  hear  from  the  lips 
of  an  honest-hearted  English  husband,  after  a  party  or  a 
ball,  how  much  soever  we  may  doubt  the  soundness  of  his 
decision. 

But  whilst  the  advantages  of  a  love  of  dress  are  admitted, 
how  mournfully  we  approach  a  consideration  of  its  perils  % 
A  love  of  dress,  uncontrolled,  stimulated  by  coquetry  and 
personal  vanity,  until  .it  cancels  every  right  principle,  be- 
comes a  temptation  first  and  then  a  curse.  Not  to  expa- 
tiate upon  the  evils  it  produces  in  the  way  of  example,  the 
envy  an  undue  passion  for  and  excess  in  dress  excites,  the 
extortionate  class  of  persons  in  the  shape  of  milliners  and 
x 


162 


lady's  dress. 


dressmakers  it  unduly  enriches,  and  the  enormous  expenses 
it  is  known  to  lead  to  when  indulged  criminally,  that  is, 
to  the  detriment  of  better  employments,  and  beyond  the 
compass  of  means,  let  us  remember  how  it  implies  selfish- 
ness and  vanity,  and  causes  remonstrances  and  often  re- 
proaches from  the  person  most  likely  to  suffer  from  his  wife's 
indulgences — her  husband. 

Analyse  the  bill  of  a  fashionable  milliner  when  the  dresses, 
of  which  it  comprises  a  fabulous  reckoning,  are  even  only 
half  worn  out.  What  gauzes,  and  odds  and  ends  of  lace, 
and  trimmings,  useless  after  a  night  or  two's  wear,  and 
flouncings  and  furbelows  and  yards  of  tulle  illusion  it 
enumerates  !  Tulle  illusion,  indeed  !  all  is  illusion  !  and 
yet  for  this  a  husband's  income  is  charged,  often  at  an  in- 
convenience, or  a  wife's  allowance  encumbered,  or  angry 
words  engendered,  or  the  family  credit  impeached  ;  and, 
worse  than  all,  charity  and  even  justice  must  be  suppressed, 
on  account  of  this  claim  from  a  milliner  as  remorseless  as 
she  is  fashionable,  for  these  two  points  are  generally  in  the 
same  ratio.  Then  there  is  another  evil,  it  has  been  found 
that  the  indulgence  in  personal  luxury  in  women  has  an 
injurious  effect  on  the  moral  tone.  It  is  in  some  natures 
the  first  symptom,  if  not  the  cause,  of  a  relaxation  in  virtue ; 
at  all  events,  it  is  often  mistaken  for  such.  A  woman  of 
simple  habits,  accompanied  with  nicety  and  good  taste, 
rarely  goes  wrong ;  at  any  rate  is  rarely  supposed  to  do  so. 
Luxury  in  dress,  at  first  an  indulgence,  becomes  a  neces- 
sity :  discontent,  a  sense  of  humiliation,  and  a  yearning  for 
what  cannot  be  had,  are  the  effects  of  that  withdrawal  of 
the  power  of  extravagance  which  so  often  happens  in  this 
changing  and  commercial  country. 

We  used  to  point  to  America  as  the  country  in  which 
excessive  dress  was  a  reproach ;  the  rich  silks,  the  foreign 
lace,  the  black  satin  shoes,  and  the  decollee  evening  dress 
of  the  fair  inhabitants  of  New  York,  even  in  Broadway,  are 
themes  of  comment  to  us  all.  We  used  to  wonder  at  the 
French  dame  du  monde,  who  gives  six  hundred  pounds  for 


LUXURY  AND  EXTRAVAGANCE. 


163 


her  set  of  winter  sables.  Instances  are  not  wanting,  either, 
in  Vienna  and  Bavaria,  of  ladies  who  spend  seven  or  eight 
hundred  a  year  on  dress,  independent  of  jewellery.  It  is 
remarked  in  Paris,  that  habits  of  luxe  in  every  shape,  but 
especially  in  dress,  have  come  in  with  the  present  regime. 
The  old  Legitimist  families,  though  habitually  and  innately 
studious  in  dress,  prided  themselves  on  their  elegant  simpli- 
city, as  distinguishing  them  from  bourgeoisie.  The  Court 
of  Louis  Philippe  was  remarkable  for  its  homeliness  ;  and 
the  Queen  and  the  Duchess  of  Orleans  set  an  example  of  a 
noble  superiority  to  the  vanities  of  life.  Few'  carriages 
were  kept,  comparatively  ;  and  where  ladies  cannot  have 
carnages,  they  must  dress  plainly  in  the  streets.  But  with 
the  marriage  of  Louis  Napoleon,  the  Empress  has,  probably 
without  intending  it,  been  the  originator  of  extreme  richness 
and  variety  in  dress  ;  and  the  contamination  has  spread  to 
England.  Never  did  women  require  so  much.  Every  lady, 
and  even  every  lady's-maid,  must  now  have  her  petticoats 
edged  with  work.  The  cost  of  pocket-handkerchiefs  is 
something  marvellous ;  the  plain  fine  cambric,  than  which 
nothing  is  more  appropriate  or  more  agreeable,  is  only  fit 
for  our  inferiors.  Cuffs,  collars,  jabots,  chemisettes,  are  a 
genus  that  half  ruin  a  lady  of  moderate  means.  Until 
lately,  flounces  went  into  such  extremes  that  it  required 
twenty  or  two-and-twenty  yards  to  make  a  dress  for  the 
wife  of  a  hard-working  physician  or  lawyer ;  but,  happily,  the 
excess  has  cured  itself.  France,  in  returning  good  sense, 
now  decrees  that  everything  shall  be  plain.  Trimmings, 
that  snare  to  the  unwary,  out  of  which  dressmakers  made 
fortunes,  and  husbands  lost  them,  are  put  down.  How  long 
this  salutary  change  may  continue  no  one  can  tell ;  but  a 
woman  of  sense  should  be  superior  to  all  these  variations. 
She  should  keep  within  the  bounds  of  the  fashion.  She 
should  not  dress  out  that  perishable  piece  of  clay  with 
money  wrung  from  the  hands  of  an  anxious,  laborious  hus- 
band ;  or  taken,  if  her  husband  be  a  man  of  fortune,  from 
his  means  of  charity. 


164 


LADY  S  DRESS. 


The  proportion  of  what  amongst  the  great  we  call  pin- 
money,  and  amongst  their  inferiors  an  allowance  for  dress, 
is  a  very  difficult  matter  to  decide.  Consistency,  in  regard 
to  station  and  fortune,  is  the  first  matter  to  be  considered. 
A  lady  of  rank,  the  mother  of  three  beautiful,  ill-fated 
daughters,  is  reported  "  to  be  able  to  do"  with  two  thousand 
a  year  for  dress  !  A  monstrous  sum  ;  a  monstrous  sin  so 
to  spend  it !  When  we  look  into  the  details  of  a  recent 
bankruptcy  case,  in  which  the  items  of  the  famous  Miss 
Jane  Clark's  bills  for  the  dresses  of  two  fashionable,  and  we 
must  add  most  blamable,  women  were  exposed,  the  secret 
of  these  enormous  sums  for  dress  is  revealed.  It  consists 
in  reckless  orders,  and  their  results,  fabulous  prices.  A  lady 
once  followed  the  late  excellent  Princess  Augusta  into  the 
rooms  of  a  Court  milliner.  Having  waited  until  that  illus- 
trious lady  had  retired,  it  was  time  for  the  humbler  customer 
to  make  her  selection.  She  asked  the  price  of  a  dress, 
apologizing  therefor,  for  she  was  much  impressed  by  the 
royal  and  dignified  aspect  which  had  preceded  her.  "  Don't 
make  any  apology,  ma'am,"  was  the  Court  milliner's  excla- 
mation ;  "  her  Royal  Highness  never  orders  an  article 
without  asking  the  price ;  and  I  always  like  to  receive 
ladies  who  ask  prices :  it  shows  that  they  intend  to  pay." 

The  cost  therefore  of  dress  depends  so  much  on  the  pru- 
dence as  well  as  on  the  discrimination  of  a  lady,  for  she 
should  know  how  to  choose  her  dress,  that  it  is  difficult  to 
lay  down  any  rule  of  expenditure.  For  married  women  of 
rank,  five  hundred  a  year  ought  to  be  the  maximum ;  a 
hundred  a  year  the  minimum  (and  there  are  many  peers 
who  cannot  easily  afford  to  give  their  wives  even  so  much). 
The  wives  of  ministers,  and  more  especially  of  diplomatists, 
who  require  to  appear  frequently  either  in  foreign  courts, 
or  in  our  own,  may  require  five  hundred,  or  even  more, 
though  I  am  persuaded  very  few  of  our  ambassadorial 
ladies  have  so  much  to  spend. 

With  regard  to  unmarried  women,  what  a  revolt  amongst 
them  there  would  be  if  old  Lord  Eldon  were  now  alive  to 


ALLOWANCE  FOE  DEESS. 


165 


lay  down,  as  lie  did,  as  a  maxim,  that  forty  pounds  a  year 
was  enough  for  any  girl  not  of  age,  even  if  she  had  large 
expectations  ;  and  that  was  all  he  allotted  to  a  ward  of 
Chancery,  who  was  heiress  to  five  thousand  a  year.  It  was, 
perhaps,  too  little.  In  a  trial,  in  which  a  celebrated  bar- 
rister, who  had  an  extravagant  wife,  was  sued  for  dress- 
makers' bills  for  his  reckless  spouse,  the  judge  stated  that 
sixty  pounds  a  year  was  an  ample  allowance  for  the  wife  of 
a  professional  man,  and  beyond  that  bills  could  not  be  re- 
covered.   That  was  essential :  more  was  extravagance. 

Certainly  these  legal  authorities  were  moderate  in  their 
views  j  especially  as  no  women  are  so  extravagant — none 
so  luxurious,  generally,  as  the  wives  of  successful  barristers. 

The  Times,  whose  range  and  power  seem  to  resemble  the 
elephant's  trunk  that  can  pick  up  a  pin  or  crush  a  man,  in 
a  late  sensible  and  amusing  "  leader,"  made  a  remark  which 
will  comfort  struggling  professional  men,  and,  generally,  be 
thankfully  received  by  all  who  need  some  authority  to  aid 
in  keeping  the  milliner's  bill  within  due  bounds.  It  was 
simply  to  the  effect  that  a  tasteful,  careful  lady,  with  the 
start  of  a  moderately  good  trousseau,  ought  (and  many  do) 
to  make  twenty  pounds  a  year  suffice  for  the  dress  of  her- 
self and  children  during  the  first  few  years  of  married  life, 
and  this  without  any  compromise  of  respectability. 

Much,  however,  depends  on  management ;  much  on  the 
care  taken  of  dress.  In  these  respects  the  French  are 
infinitely  our  superiors.  Even  the  grandes  dames  of  Paris 
are  not  intimidated  by  their  maids  into  throwing  away  a 
half-worn  dress  ;  on  the  contrary,  everything  is  turned  to 
account.  On  entering  the  apartment  of  a  couturiere  one 
day,  a  lady  was  struck  by  the  elegance  of  a  ribbon  trimming 
on  a  court-train.  The  couturiere  smiled,  and  pointed  to  an 
old  dress  from  which  the  still  unsoiled  ribbon  had  been 
taken.  This  was  to  be  the  dress,  and  the  lady  saw  it  the 
next  night  at  the  Tuileries,  and  knew  it  at  once  ;  in  this 
the  sister  of  a-  Due  and  Marechal  of  France,  herself  a 
Countess,  appeared.    We  should  find  it  impossible  to  get 


166 


lady's  dress. 


any  mantua-maker  to  perform  such  an  act  of  virtuous 
economy  in  favour  of  an  English  customer.  The  due  care 
of  dress  is  also  a  great  point  towards  a  reasonable  economy. 
In  England,  ladies  think  it  becoming  their  dignity  to  be 
indifferent  to  the  preservation  of  their  dresses  when  on. 
In  France  the  reverse  is  carried  to  an  excess.  "  I  once 
followed,"  said  a  lady,  "  a  French  lady  in  her  carriage,  as 
we  both  went  to  the  same  party.  Her  dress  was  composed 
of  an  exquisite  tulle,  with  puffings  of  the  same  light 
material.  She  stood  up  in  her  carriage  the  whole  way,  for 
fear  of  crushing  it." 

Whatever  may  be  thought  of  this  over-care  of  the  dress 
in  the  higher  classes,  the  habit  of  conservativeness  is  of 
vast  importance  to  women  in  the  middle  class,  and  yet, 
strange  to  say,  it  is  less  common  in  them  than  among  the 
great.  Old  families  are  mostly  conservative  of  personalities ; 
it  is  a  remarkable  feature  in  them,  and  to  it  we  owe  those 
relics  of  times  long  gone  by,  which,  had  they  been  new  in 
the  present  day,  would  have  been  deemed  scarcely  worth 
the  preservation. 

But  whilst  too  much  cannot  be  said  against  extravagance 
and  destructiveness,  it  must  also  be  stated,  under  the  head 
of  the  minor  virtues,  the  wonderful  art  some  people  have 
of  making  a  good  appearance  on  small  means.  "  A  man's 
appearance,"  says  the  good,  old-fashioned,  sensible  Spectator, 
"  falls  within  the  censure  of  every  one  that  sees  him  ;  his 
parts  and  learning  very  few  are  judges  of."  So,  in  regard 
to  women.  No  stranger  knows  the  heart  that  beats  beneath 
an  ill-made  gown,  or  the  qualities  of  head  that  lie  hidden 
beneath  a  peculiar,  old-fashioned,  or  hideous  cap.  A  woman 
may  be  an  angel  of  goodness,  a  Minerva  in  wisdom,  a  Diana 
in  morals,  a  Sappho  in  sentiment,  yet  if  she  wears  a  soiled 
dress  where  all  around  are  in  new  and  fresh  dresses,  or  has 
an  ill-arranged  bonnet  or  head-dress,  esteem,  even  affection, 
will  not  resist  a  smile  or  a  sigh ;  and  the  mere  acquaintance 
will  have  every  right  to  jeer  at  what  seems  to  imply  an 
ignorance  of  the  habits  of  good  society. 


EXTRAVAGANCE  IN  FASHION. 


167 


Next  in  injury  to  her  who  practises  extravagance  of 
dress,  is  extravagance  in  fashion.  From  the  middle  ages 
the  English  ladies  have  been  bad  dressers.  Witness 
Queen  Mary  when  married  to  Philip  n.  of  Spain,  spoiling 
the  effect  of  a  superb  wedding-dress,  in  the  French  style, 
by  wearing  a  black  scarf  and  scarlet  shoes,  which,  it  has 
been  sarcastically  observed,  was  worse  than  burning  Pro- 
testants. During  the  last  century  head-dresses  rose  to  a 
stupendous  height,  each  lady  carrying  on  her  head  a  tower 
composed  of  a  cushion,  on  which  the  hair  was  drawn  back, 
and  clubbed  or  rolled  on  the  top  of  the  neck.  On  this 
fabric  were  arranged  feathers,  flowers,  pearls  dangling  in 
loops,  ribbons,  and  old  point  lace.  Sometimes  a  tiny  mob- 
cap  was  stuck  on  one  side  ;  the  whole  was  so  immense 
that  even  the  huge  family  coaches  were  too  small,  and  the 
ladies  usually  sat  with  their  heads  hanging  out  of  the 
window  of  the  carriage.  Powder  was  a  main  ingredient, 
and  hair-dressing  was  indeed  a  science.  On  great  occasions 
the  hair-dresser  waited  on  our  fair  ancestresses  betimes ; 
belaboured  their  tresses  with  the  powder-puff,  and,  with 
what  looked  like  the  end  of  a  candle,  a  pomatum-stick, 
until  no  trace  of  nature  could  peep  out  to  mar  the  belle. 
Then  he  placed  the  cushion,  sticking  it  on  with  long  pins 
of  wire ;  next  he  stuck  here  and  there  the  bows,  or  feathers, 
or  flowers.  After  an  hour's  torture,  in  which  neither  back 
must  be  bent,  nor  head  moved,  he  left  her,  not  to  repose, 
but  to  sit  as  if  in  a  vice  until  the  patches  or  mouches  were 
stuck  on  skilfully ;  the  tight  corsets  drawn  to  an  agony 
point ;  the  pointed  and  heeled  shoes  put  on  over  the  well- 
pricked  silk  stocking  ;  and  the  dress  that  could  have  stood 
alone,  composed  over  a  fortification  of  strong  whale-bone 
that  sprung  out  a  great  circumference,  being  a  series  of 
bands,  regulated  by  a  spring,  and  constituting  that  great 
feature  of  full  dress — the  hoop. 

In  Paris,  there  was  a  champion  of  low  heads  in  the 
person  of  a  Swiss,  who,  not  being  able  to  see  over  £hese 
turrets  of  heads  at  the  grande  opera,  used  to  cut  away,  as 


168 


lady's  dress. 


one  does  at  evergreens,  right  and  left,  in  order  to  clear 
away  the  view.  At  last,  the  ladies,  in  dismay,  and  alarmed 
at  his  scissors,  gave  him  up  a  front  place  ;  but,  eventually, 
the  ridicule  thus  cast  on  the  mode  banished  it,  or  helped  to 

do  so,  and  a  less  absurd  coiffure  came  into  vogue. 

The  art  of  placing  patches  on  the  face  and  neck  was  of 
earlier  origin,  and  came  in  during  the  reign  of  Charles  it. 
It  was  of  French  origin  ;  and  Henrietta  of  Orleans,  the 
sister  of  the  King,  was  amongst  the  first  to  display  mouches 
or  patches  at  court.  This  time  even  Mrs.  Pepys  was 
permitted  by  her  husband  to  wear  them  ;  and  the  vanity 
of  the  ci-devant  tailor  spoke  forcibly  in  these  words  : — - 
"  The  Princess  Henrietta  is  very  pretty  ;  but  my  wife, 
standing  near  her,  with  two  or  three  black  patches  on,  and 
well-dressed,  still  seems  to  me  much  handsomer  than  she." 
Patches  long  held  their  reign  ;  and  went  out  only  with 
rouge,  having  even  survived  the  reign  of  powder. 

At  length  a  more  natural  taste  dawned  in  England ;  but 
it  was  reserved  for  Mrs,  Siddons  first  to  appear  on  the 
stage  without  powder,  and  her  own  rich  dark  hair  ar- 
ranged in  massive  tresses  on  her  fine  head. 

Towards  the  beginning  of  the  present  century  came  in 
the  extremes  of  tight  dresses  and  short  waists.  The  skirts 
of  dresses  were  made  as  scanty  as  possible,  and  gored,  that 
is,  made  much  wider  at  the  base  than  at  the  top.  There 
was  an  inch  of  sleeve,  and  two  inches  of  boddice.  It  was 
impossible  not  to  be  indelicate,  unless  you  put  on  what  was 
called  a  "  modesty-piece,"  or  tucker,  formed  of  lace  or 
worked  muslin  ;  even  then  the  requisite  propriety  was 
almost  unattainable.  As  to  the  hair,  that  was  drawn  up 
to  the  top  of  the  head,  and  two  or  three  curls  worn  in 
front,  just  above  the  eyebrows.  Since  hoops  had  been 
outrageous,  and  head-dresses  had  obstructed  the  view  of 
Her  Majesty's  liege  subjects,  society  thus  revenged  herself. 
Politics,  too,  at  that  time  influenced  fashion.  Then  came 
the  Brutus  crop,  in  which  style  many  of  our  fair  ancestresses 
are  depicted ;  this  was  in  compliment  to  the  Eoman  heroism 


CHANGES  OF  FASHION, 


169 


of  the  First  Consul,  Bonaparte,  and  was  caught  up  in 
England.  Small  Leghorn  hats,  like  men's  hats,  were  all 
the  vogue,  and  were  in  their  turn  displaced  for  high-crowned 
bonnets  with  an  inch  or  two  of  poke,  which  yielded,  in  due 
course,  to  the  cottage-bonnet,  or  capite. 

The  hair  at  this  time  was  getting  higher  and  higher, 
until,  about  twenty  years  ago,  it  reached  the  giraffe — a  bow 
of  hair,  or  two,  or  even  three  bows  raised  on  triangular 
pins  made  on  purpose,  and  fastened  skilfully  into  the  hair ; 
over  this  rose  the  bow  called — in  compliment  to  the  first 
appearance  of  two  giraffes  in  this  country — the  giraffe 
bows.  Their  reign  was  short,  and  the  hair  sank  down  to 
the  very  extreme,  and  ringlets,  which  reached  the  very 
waist,  and  plaits  low  down  in  the  neck  behind,  succeeded. 
There  was  a  transient  reign  of  the  Oldenburg  bonnet,  in- 
troduced by  the  beautiful  Duchess  of  Oldenburg,  when  she 
visited  this  country  in  1818.  This  bonnet  was  nothing 
more  nor  less  than  a  coal-scuttle  in  straw,  and  turned  up 
roimd  the  rim  ;  it  was  tremendously  warm  to  wear  •  and 
caricatures  were  drawn  at  the  time  showing  a  gentleman's 
difficulty  in  making  love  to  his  inamorata,  whose  face 
was  enclosed  in  the  Oldenburg  bonnet.  The  effect  of  a 
number  of  these  bonnets  collected  in  a  small  space  was 
ludicrous.  A  very  pretty  simple  cottage,  after  all  the  best 
style,  succeeded  the  Oldenburg.  About  1821  the  gored 
skirts  gave  place  to  those  slightly  gathered,  or  plaited 
round  the  figure.  There  was  a  perfect  revolt  against  this 
fashion  ;  many  elegant  women  heading  the  malcontents. 
Happily  they  were  obliged  to  yield,  and  the  loose  and  full 
flowing  dresses  came  into  fashion,  and  kept  their  place,  after 
a  disgraceful  interregnum  of  very  short  petticoats,  only  not 
showing  the  knees  ;  which  extreme,  it  is  believed,  induced 
the  adoption  of  full  and  long  skirts. 

With  occasional  deviations,  the  form  of  the  dress  has 
not  very  greatly  varied  since  the  grand  revolution  which 
discarded  gores,  until  that  counter-agitation  which  brought 
in  crinolines.     This  innovation  is  well  exemplified  by 

Y 


170 


lady's  dress. 


merely  recalling  the  degeneracy  in  costume  of  the  Imperial 
arbitress  of  fashion  who  introduced  it.  At  one  of  the 
Tuileries  balls  in  1852,  a  young  Spanish  lady  was  the 
theme  of  all  tongues.  She  was  dressed  in  white,  with  a 
beautiful  circlet  of  black  velvet  on  her  head ;  on  this 
circlet  were  stars  of  diamonds.  The  hair,  blonde  doree ; 
the  brow,  alabaster ;  the  somewhat  melancholy  eyes,  with 
their  long  lashes,  the  regular  but  rather  rigid  pupil,  were 
justly  admired.  Mademoiselle  de  Montijo,  as  she  then 
was,  was  sparkling  with  happiness ;  the  Emperor,  that 
general  who  has  since  well-nigh  dethroned  Austria,  yet 
spared  Venice,  had  that  night  signified  his  intention  of 
making  Eugenie  de  Montijo  Empress  of  France,  by  placing 
on  her  head  a  white  flower  :  she  was  radiant  with  ex- 
citement. 

Her  figure,  however,  was  the  subject  of  all  praise.  It 
was  slight,  and  perfectly  well  dressed.  The  dress  was 
tight  in  the  corsage,  and  full,  moderately  full,  in  the  skirt. 
Since  then,  what  a.  change  !  That  small,  but  matchless 
form,  far  more  remarkable  for  grace  than  for  dignity,  comes 
forth  encumbered,  unnaturally  enlarged,  and  indeed  de- 
formed with  an  excess  of  fulness  which  can  only  be  sup- 
ported by  a  device  which  in  principle  is  the  grandchild  of 
the  hoop.  As  she  walks,  the  petticoats  shake  about,  and 
the  artifice  underneath  is  revealed.  The  Empress  is  there ; 
but  the  beautiful  tournure  of  Eugenie  de  Montijo  is  lost  in 
that  mass  of  bouffons  and  flounces  over  the  invisible  though 
protruding  crinoline.  The  infatuation  has  spread  from  the 
palace  to  the  private  house ;  thence  even  to  the  cottage. 
Your  lady's-maid  must  now  needs  have  her  crinoline,  and 
it  has  even  become  an  essential  to  factory  girls.  The  smart 
young  needlewoman  has  long  thought  that  neither  she,  nor 
any  one  else,  could  appear  without  it. 

That  there  are  some  advantages  in  this  modern  fashion, 
cannot  be  denied.  On  State  occasions  it  gives  importance, 
shows  off  a  dress,  and  preserves  it  from  trailing  on  the 
floor.    Tor  walking,  it  has  the  recommendation  of  keeping 


CRINOLINE. 


171 


the  dresses  out  of  the  dirt ;  which  may  to  some  extent 
compensate  for  the  very  unpleasant  and  visible  effect  of 
"  carrying  one's  tails  behind  one,"  since  the  skirt  often 
shakes  about  as  if  there  was  a  balloon  around  the  person. 
Otherwise,  the  crinoline  is  unnatural — as  some  wear  it,  in- 
delicate— and  cumbersome,  and  gives  an  appearance  of  width 
below  that  is  perfectly  frightful.  Now,  however,  the  excess 
seems  abating.  As  if  to  make  the  contrast  greater,  those 
who  so  expand  below,  do  not  hesitate,  in  many  instances,  to 
contract  above,  by  tight  lacing  ;  but  this  also  is  a  custom 
that  has  very  much  decreased  of  late  years.  Formerly, 
instances  were  frequently  known  of  young  ladies  nearly 
perishing  under  the  self-imposed  torture  of  what  may  not 
be  inaptly  called  the  waist-screw.  A  physician  at  dinner 
one  day  with  his  family,  was  summoned  by  knocks  and  rings 
to  a  house  in  the  same  street,  where  there  had  been  a 
dinner  party.  The  ladies  had  just  retired  to  the  drawing- 
room,  when,  suddenly,  the  youngest  and  fairest  of  them  fell 
fainting  back  into  her  chair.  .  Eestoratives  were  applied, 
but  consciousness  did  not  return.  The  physician  came  ;  he 
was  an  aged  and  practical  man,  well  versed  in  every  variety 
of  female  folly.  He  took  out  his  penknife  :  the  company 
around  thought  he  was  going  to  bleed  the  still  unconscious 
patient.  "  Ha,  this  is  tight  lacing ! "  he  suddenly  said ; 
and  adding,  "  no  time  to  be  lost,"  he  cut  open  the  boddice 
of  the  dress ;  it  opened,  and,  with  a  gush,  gave  the  poor 
young  lady  breath  :  the  heart  had  been  compressed  by 
tight  lacing,  and  had  nearly  ceased  to  act.  In  another 
moment  it  would  have  been  too  late ;  the  action  of  the 
heart  would  have  ceased  altogether. 

It  has  been  found,  also,  that  the  liver,  the  lungs,  the 
powers  of  the  stomach,  have  been  brought  into  a  diseased 
state  by  this  most  pernicious  habit.  Loss  of  bloom,  fixed 
redness  in  the  nose,  eruptions  on  the  skin,  are  among  its 
sad  effects.  If  prolonged,  there  is  no  knowing  to  what 
malady  tight  lacing  may  not  tend  ;  its  most  apparent  effect 
is  an  injured  digestion,  and  consequent  loss  of  appetite. 


172 


lady's  deess. 


Of  this,  however,  it  is  often  difficult  io  convince  the  prac- 
tised tight-lacer  ;  for  vanity  is  generally  obstinate. 

No  girl  should  wear  bones  or  steels  until  she  has  done 
growing.  Until  then  a  boddice,  close  (fitting,  but  not  tight, 
or  even  a  mere  fiannel  waistcoat,  is  all  that  should  be 
allowed,  if  a  mother  wishes  to  avoid  seeing  her  child  with 
a  curved  spine.  During  the  reign  jf  tight  lacing,  and  of 
stays  so  stiff,  that  when  spread  out  they  resembled  a  board 
in  texture,  seven  women  in  ten  were  crooked.  Whole 
families  leaned  on  one  side  or  the  other.  "  You  are  no 
worse  than  your  neighbours,"  was  the  common  expression  of 
any  surgeon  called  in  to  attend  in  a  case  of  curvature  of 
the  spine.  That  is  not  the  case  now,  to  nearly  such  an 
extent. 

But  looking  at  tight  lacing  without  consideration  of  its 
effect  on  health,  and  merely  as  its  tendency  to  improve  or 
to  injure  the  appearance,  nothing  can  be  more  absurd  than 
to  believe  that  it  is  advantageous  to  the  figure.  A  very 
small  waist  is  rather  a  deformity  than  a  beauty.  To  see 
the  shoulders  cramped  and  squeezed  together,  is  anything 
but  agreeable ;  the  figure  should  be  easy,  well  developed, 
supple  :  if  Nature  has  not  made  the  waist  small,  compres- 
sion cannot  mend  her  work.  Dress  may  do  much  to  lessen 
the  awkward  appearance  of  a  thick  waist  by  clever  adapta- 
tions ;  by  the  use  of  stays  both  easy  and  well  fitting ;  by 
a  little  extra  trimming  on  the  shoulders,  which  naturally 
makes  the  waist  appear  smaller.  All  this  may  be  done 
without  injury  ;  no  stays  can  answer  the  purpose  so  well 
as  those  made  by  a  good  French  stay-maker,  who  has  the 
art  of  taking  a  sort  of  model  of  the  figure  by  the  extreme 
exactness  of  her  measurements.  The  stays  are  made  single, 
and  therefore  fit  better  than  double  ones  ;  they  give  with 
every  movement.  Those  lately  introduced,  which  fasten 
at  once,  are  not  so  advantageous  to  the  figure  as  the  old- 
fashioned  plan  of  lacing  behind,  but  are  admirable  in  point 
of  convenience  and  despatch.  By  their  aid,  elderly  ladies 
who  have  not  dressed  themselves,  but  have  been  dressed  by 


HOW  FAR  FASHION  MAY  BE  FOLLOWED. 


173 


a  maid  for  years,  have  become  independent  ;  a  great 
benefit  to  health  and  despatch.  The  slight  exertion  of 
dressing  one's-self,  the  gentle  exercise  it  induces  after  re- 
pose, the  excellent  habit  of  order,  and  the  necessity  it 
imposes  of  throwing  off  the  thoughts,  that  may  perhaps  too 
much  have  occupied  the  mind  during  the  hours  of  a  wake- 
ful night,  render  the  operation  of  dressing  to  those  in  fair 
health,  a  very  salutary  exertion. 

It  is  often  disputed  how  far  ladies  are  justified  in  follow- 
ing the  fashion  of  the  day  ;  how  far  they  could  be  praised 
or  blamed  for  conforming  or  for  resisting  the  influences 
around  them  in  that  respect.  To  adopt  the  prevailing 
fashion,  but  not  carry  it  to  excess,  seems  the  most  rational 
line  of  conduct ;  none  but  a  great  beauty,  or  a  person  of 
any  exalted  rank,  can  deviate,  and  hope  to  escape  ridicule, 
from  what  fashion  has  introduced.  Even  in  the  acknow- 
ledged beauty,  there  is  a  presumption  in  doing  so.  Yet 
there  were  during  the  last  reign  three  lively  sisters,  all  now 
ennobled  by  marriage,  who,  at  Court,  when  all  were 
crowned  with  plumes,  then  worn  like  a  crest  on  the  head, 
nine  or  twelve  in  number,  went  to  the  drawing-rooms  with 
a  small  feather  on  either  side,  and  without  diamonds  :  it 
was  a  courageous  feat,  but  the  effect  was  good,  and  pro- 
duced, some  thought,  the  reduction  of  plumes  at  Court. 

A  reasonable  and  tasteful  acquiescence  in  the  rapid 
changes — if  not  too  rapid — in  the  modes  of  dress,  is  sen- 
sible and  convenient.  No  single  individual  can  successfully 
oppose  the  stream  of  fashion.  Everything  that  is  peculiar  in 
dress  is,  we  are  convinced,  more  or  less  objectionable.  Dr. 
Johnson  was  praising  a  lady  for  being  very  well  dressed.  "  I 
am  sure  she  was  well  dressed,"  he  reiterated,  "  for  I  cannot 
remember  what  she  had  on."  Now,  had  not  the  lady's 
dress  been  modem  in  the  fashion,  he  would  have  been 
struck  with  some  anomaly,  some  peculiarity,  in  form  or 
colours.  The  general,  effect  was  admirable  :  what  more 
could  be  wished  1  details  are  important  to  the  dress-maker 
and  to  the  tailor  :  it  is  effect  that  tells  on  society.  Too 


174 


LADY  S  DEESS. 


much  importance  cannot  be  assigned  to  the  harmony  of 
colours.  No  nation  in  this  respect  offends  so  greatly  as 
the  English  :  they  mistake  gaudiness  for  effect,  or  dowdi- 
ness  for  elegance.  When  full  colours  are  in  fashion,  a 
lady,  however  well  dressed,  will  look  ill  if  she  adheres  to 
the  delicate  pinks  and  almost  invisible  blues  which  pre- 
vailed some  years  since,  lovely  as  those  pure  and  soft 
shades  are.  She  will,  however,  require  an  artist's  eye  to 
combine  the  more  glowing  shades  skilfully,  in  order  to  escape 
being  the  parroquet  of  the  company.  A  certain  duchess, 
noted  for  the  magnificence  in  which  her  stately  person  is 
arrayed — so  stately  is  it,  as  to  bear  down  even  royalty 
itself  in  queenly  dignity — is  so  aware  of  the  importance  of 
combining  colours  well,  that  one  of  hevfemmes  de  chambre 
is  a  "  combination  maid,"  selected  on  account  of  her  judg- 
ment in  colours  ;  thus,  every  toilette  for  the  day  or  night 
is  submitted  by  her  ;  the  shawl  is  affronted  with  the  gown ; 
the  bonnet  is  made  to  suit  with  both.  The  wreath  of 
flowers  is  to  be  in  keeping  with  the  rich  boddice,  the  bod- 
dice  with  the  sweeping  train;  the  rich  jewellery,  taken 
from  a  casket  almost  unparalleled  among  the  subjects  of 
any  country,  must  not  eclipse,  but  heighten  the  tints  of  the 
dress  :  the  whole  is  placed  for  inspection,  as  an  artist 
dresses  up  a  lay  figure  ;  and  the  repute  of  the  combina- 
tion-maid is  staked  on  the  result.  White  was  that  gor- 
geous lady's  favourite  attire  ;  white,  scarce  purer  than  the 
face,  "  0  call  it  pale,  not  fair  ;"  white,  which  "  combines" 
with  every  hue,  ornament,  or  flowers  :  but  the  loveliness 
may  now  have  fled  before  the  approach  of  time,  and  rich 
colours  have  been  selected  as  the  appropriate  tints  for  that 
middle  age  which  is  so  beautiful  in  English  women,  and  in 
English  women  alone. 

After  these  general  remarks,  let  us  come  to  particu- 
lars, and  consider  what,  in  modern  days,  are  the  different 
dresses  appropriate  to  every  different  occasion  in  the  higher 
and  middle  classes  of  life.  It  is  true  that  the  distinction 
between  these  is,  in  many  respects,  nullified ;  that  the  wife 


MORNING  DRESS. 


175 


of  the  merchant  dresses  much  in  the  same  way  on  ordinary- 
occasions  as  the  peeress  :  still  there  are  nevertheless  dis- 
tinctions. 

The  peeress,  or  the  baronet's  lady,  or  the  wife  of  a 
minister,  or  of  an  opulent  M.P.,  or  of  a  very  wealthy 
commoner,  should,  when  she  appears  dressed  for  the  morn- 
ing, be  richly  dressed.  Silk,  or,  if  in  winter,  some  material 
trimmed  with  silk  or  velvet,  should  compose  her  dress. 
All  that  family  of  half-worsted  and  half-silk  dresses, 
convenient  for  ladies  who  walk  much,  are  unsuitable  to 
matrons  of  rank  and  fortune.  Let  them  leave  them  to 
their  housekeepers  (if  their  housekeepers  will  wear  them). 
Rich  dark  silks,  perfectly  well  fitting,  ample  in  skirt  and 
length,  with  a  moderate  bastion  of  crinoline  underneath, 
suit  the  woman  of  rank.  The  basque,  introduced  by  the 
Empress  Eugenie,  and  now  gone  out  of  fashion,  was  pecu- 
liarly elegant  in  morning  dress  :  it  marked  so  completely 
the  difference  between  the  morning  and  evening  costume ; 
it  is  becoming  to  most  figures ;  it  is  convenient  for  those 
who  like  to  fasten  their  own  dresses.  It  is,  however,  dis- 
continued, and  a  far  less  elegant  form  of  dress  adopted. 
The  morning  dress  of  the  present  day  is  worn  close  up 
to  the  throat,  and  the  sleeves  are  loose  and  large  ;  so 
that  underneath  them,  sleeves,  richly  worked,  or  trimmed 
with  lace,  may  be  seen  hanging  down,  or  fastened  round 
the  wrist  with  a  bracelet.  The  fashion  of  these  morning 
dresses  varies  continually ;  but,  as  a  general  principle,  they 
should  be,  for  a  person  moderately  embonpoint,  made  to 
fit  and  show  off  the  figure  perfectly.  The  accompaniments 
of  sleeves,  collars,  should  be  of  the  most  delicate  and 
richest  work ;  the  lace  choice ;  the  lady  of  rank  must 
remember  that  imitations  of  lace  are  not  suitable  to  those 
who  can  encourage  art  and  industry ;  a  lady  must  also  be 
bien  chaussee.  If  stockings  are  visible,  they  should  be  of 
the  finest  silk  or  thread  ;  the  shoe  well  made,  slight,  and 
somewhat  trimmed ;  the  fashion  of  wearing  gloves  in-doors, 
or  even  mittens,  has  much  died  away  lately.    The  hand,  if 


176 


lady's  dress. 


exposed,  should  be  habitually  well  taken  care  of.  Nothing 
is  so  unlady-like  as  a  hand  that  is  either  rough,  or  has 
become  snn-burnt,  in  which  case  gloves  should  be  used. 
Too  many  rings  are  vulgar.  Those  worn  in  the  morning 
should  be  of  a  solid  kind,  not  pearls  or  diamonds,  which 
appertain  to  full  dress ;  but  enamel,  plain  gold,  opal,  per- 
haps sapphire,  carbuncle,  may  not  be  inconsistent  with 
morning  dress,  and  the  same  observation  may  be  applied 
to  the  brooch. 

There  is  another  style  of  morning  dress  which  is  elegant, 
that  of  the  peignoir,  a  loose  robe,  which  admits  of  great 
richness  of  texture;  it  may  be  of  Cashmere  or  of  fine 
Merino  ;  it  may  be  made  out  of  a  shawl ;  of  anything  but 
silk,  which  is  more  appropriate  to  gowns ;  but  this  dress 
is  scarcely  suitable  to  any  but  the  early  morning  hours, 
and  ceases  to  be  consistent  in  the  gay  afternoons  of  a  Lon- 
don life,  when  the  drawing-room  is  filled  with  callers. 

The  morning  coiffure,  be  it  a  cap,  or  be  it  the  dressing 
of  the  hair,  should  be  simple,  compact,  neat.  The  hair, 
when  dressed,  should  be  becomingly  but  somewhat  mas- 
sively disposed.  When  it  is  rich  and  full,  a  very  slight 
head-dress  of  Mechlin  or  Lisle  lace,  for  married  women,  at 
the  back  of  the  head,  is  becoming ;  when  thin  and  weak,  a 
cap  should  be  worn  with  ribbon  coming  down  in  front. 
Nothing  looks  so  bad  as  thin  hair,  underneath  which  the 
head  is  discernible  in  the  day-time.  Every  ornament  on 
the  head  is  in  bad  taste  in  the  morning ;  one  views  with 
horror  huge  gold  pins,  or  would-be  gold,  corresponding  to 
ear-rings  of  the  same  false  description.  The  peril  of  being 
induced  to  wear  ornaments  so  meretricious,  is,  however, 
more  to  be  dreaded  in  that  class  of  society  below  the 
peeress's  rank,  with  which  it  is  particularly  inconsistent. 
The  French  ladies  are  models  of  dress  when  they  hold  their 
morning  receptions.  Everything  they  wear  is  the  best  of 
its  kind.  The  few  ornaments  they  permit  themselves  are 
more  elaborate  and  valuable  than  dazzling,  eveiything 
announcing,  as  plainly  as  if  it  had  been  written  on  their 


/ 

WALKING  AND  COUNTRY  DRESS. 


177 


doors,  that  they  are  in  demie  toilette.  The  perfect  agree- 
ment of  their  dress  with  the  hour  and  the  occasion,  is  the 
secret  of  its  almost  invariable  success. 

The  same  rules  apply  to  walking-dress,  which  should  be 
quiet  in  colour,  simple,  substantial,  and,  above  all,  founded 
on  the  science  of  combination.  To  see  a  bonnet  adorned 
with  crimson  flowers,  worn  with  a  bright  lilac  dress  ;  green 
with  scarlet,  blue  with  plum,  are  sad  departures  from  the 
rules  of  combination.  In  a  town,  even  when,  according  to 
the  time  of  the  day,  or  time  of  the  year,  a  walking  dress 
should  be  simple,  there  should  still  be  some  degree  of  rich- 
ness in  the  dress. 

The  very  dowdy  and  common-looking  style  of  dress 
should  be  avoided ;  there  should  always  be  visible,  through 
every  change,  the  lady.  Some  of  our  ladies  of  rank,  it 
must  be  allowed,  though  maintaining  well  the  characteristics 
of  grandes  dames  in  society,  are  negligent  in  their  walking 
dress,  and  seem  to  consider  that  it  is  only  necessary  to  put 
on  their  dignity  when  they  dress  for  dinner. 

For  the  country,  the  attire  should  be  tasteful  and  solid 
and  strong.  The  bonnet  may  still,  though  plain,  and  per- 
haps of  straw  or  whalebone,  be  becoming.  The  hat,  now 
so  prevalently  used,  admits  of  some  decoration,  that  gives 
both  character  and  elegance.  Worn  almost  irniversally  on 
the  Continent  in  summer,  and  now  in  England,  it  is  the 
most  sensible  as  well  as  the  most  picturesque  covering  for 
the  head  ;  long  feathers,  even  in  the  most  tranquil  scenes, 
are  not  inappropriate.  Cloaks,  of  a  light  material  for  sum- 
mer, and  stout  in  the  winter,  are  more  elegant  and  suitable 
than  shawls,  which  belong  rather  to  the  carriage  or  visiting 
dress.  One  point  of  dress  has  been  much  amended  lately, 
owing  to  the  good  sense  of  our  Queen.  It  was  formerly 
thought  ungenteel  to  wear  anything  but  thin  Morocco  shoes, 
•or  very  slight  boots  in  walking.  Clogs  and  goloshes  were 
necessarily  resorted  to.  "  The  genteel  disease,"  as  Mac- 
kenzie calls  it,  has,  however,  yielded  to  the  remedies  of 
example.  Victoria  has  assumed  the  Balmoral  petticoat, 
z 


178 


lady's  dress. 


than  which,  for  health,  comfort,  warmth,  and  effect,  no 
invention  was  ever  better.  She  has  courageously  accom- 
panied it  with  the  Balmoral,  boot,  and  even  with  the 
mohair  and  coloured  stocking.  With  these,  and  the  warm 
cloak,  the  looped  dresses,  the  shady  hat,  and,  to  complete 
a  country  walking  dress,  soft  gloves  of  the  kind  termed 
gants  de  siecle,  the  high-born 1  lady  may  enjoy  the  privi- 
leges which  her  inferiors  possess — she  may  take  a  good 
walk  with  pleasure  and  safety,  and  not  shiver  at  the  aspect 
of  a  muddy  lane. 

Next,  in  the  description  of  a  lady's  dress,  comes  the 
carriage,  or  visiting  dress.  This  should  be  exceedingly 
handsome  ;  gayer  in  colour,  richer  in  texture  than  the  morn- 
ing dress  at  home.  The  bonnet  may  either  be  as  simple 
as  possible,  or  as  rich  ;  but  it  must  not  encroach  upon  that 
to  be  worn  at  a  fete,  a  flower-show,  or  a  morning  concert. 
It  must  still  be  what  the  French  call  un  "  chapeau  de 
fatigue."  A  really  good  shawl,  or  a  mantle  trimmed  with 
lace,  are  the  concomitants  of  the  carriage,  or  a  visiting 
dress  in  winter.  In  summer  all  should  be  light,  cool, 
agreeable  to  think  of,  pleasant  to  look  at.  Nothing  can  be 
in  worse  taste  than  to  keep  on,  till  it  makes  one  feverish  to 
look  at  it,  the  warm  clothing  of  winter  after  winter  and 
even  spring  have  passed  away.  Then  light  scarfs,  of  which 
those  worn  in  muslin  are  very  elegant,  delicate  muslins, 
slight  silks,  and  grenadines,  are  infinitely  more  suitable, 
although  they  are  less  expensive,  to  summer  and  its  bright 
hours  than  the  heavy  artillery  of  cashmeres  and  velvets,  be 
they  ever  so  handsome. 

The  ordinary  evening  costume  at  home  admits  of  great 
taste  and  becomingness.  In  some  great  houses  it  differs 
little  from  that  assumed  at  large  dinner-parties,  except 
that  ornaments  are  less  worn.  In  France,  the  high  dress  is 
still  worn  at  dinners,  even  those  of  full  dress.  In  England, 
that  custom,  often  introduced,  never  becomes  general ; 
there  is  no  doubt  but  that  a  low  dress  is  by  far  the  most 
becoming,  according  to  age,  complexion,  and  the  style  of 


FULL  DINNER  DRESS. 


179 


the  house — a  point  always  to  be  taken  into  consideration. 
Yet  I  should  restrict  this  to  dinners  by  candle-light.  In 
summer  a  thin  high  dress,  at  any  rate,  is  more  convenient 
and  more  modest.  Since  there  is  something  in  exposing  the 
bare  shoulders  and  arms  to  the  glare  of  day,  that  startles 
an  observer,  the  demie  toilette  of  the  French  may  here 
be  well  applied.  The  hair  should  now  be  fully  dressed,  and 
with  care ;  flowers  may  be  worn  by  the  young ;  caps 
with  flowers  by  the  elder  ;  ornaments,  especially  bracelets, 
are  not  inconsistent ;  the  dress  should  be  of  a  texture 
that  can  bear  inspection,  not  flimsy  and  inexpensive,  but 
good,  though  not  heavy.  The  same  rules  may  be  applied 
to  the  ordinary  costume  in  an  evening  at  home,  except 
that  the  texture  may  be  lighter.  For  all  these  occasions 
a  lady  of  rank  and  fortune  should  have  her  separate  dresses. 
She  should  not  wear  out  her  old  ball  or  dinner  dresses  by 
her  fireside  and  in  intimate  circles.  They  always  have  a 
tawdry,  miserable  look.  She  should  furnish  herself  with 
a  good  provision  for  the  demie  toilette.  Nothing  is  so 
vulgar  as  finery  out  of  place. 

The  full  dinner- dress,  in  England,  admits,  and  indeed, 
in  the  present  days  of  luxury,  demands  great  splendour. 
The  dress  maybe  blue,  silver-grey,  crimson,  make,  lavender, 
or  (but  rare)  very  pale  green ;  pink  is  suitable  alone  to 
balls ;  it  may  be  of  any  thick  texture  of  silk  in  vogue  ; 
but  in  the  fashion  it  must  be.  The  dinner  dresses  that 
last  for  ever  are-  detestable.  Trimmings  of  Brussels  lace, 
or  of  Mechlin,  or  of  Maltese,  are  preferable  to  blonde  or 
tulle,  which  are  for  balls  or  soirees.  The  dress  should  be 
made  in  the  newest  fashion  ;  therefore  no  rule  can  be  set 
down,  except  that  for  state  dinners  it  should  be  long,  and 
fresh,  and  sweeping.  At  large  dinners,  diamonds  may  be 
worn,  but  only  in  a  brooch,  or  pendant  from  the  throat  ; 
a  full  suite  of  diamonds  is  suitable  to  very  full  dress  alone. 
The  same  rule  applies  to  emeralds,  but  not  to  pearls. 
Rows  of  pearls,  confined  by  a  diamond  snap,  are  beautiful 
in  every  dress.    They  suit  either  the  demie  toilette,  or  the 


180 


lady's  dress. 


stately  solemn  dinner.    If  flowers  be  worn,  they  should  be 

of  the  very  choicest  ;  ladies  have  so  much  time  to  examine 
and  to  criticise  after  dinner,  that  too  much  care  of  minutiae 
cannot  be  taken  ;  if  but  a  rose,  it  should  be  from  the  very 
first  hand.  The  fan,  to  be  consistent,  should  also  be  first- 
rate  ;  it  may  be  old,  and  painted  after  the  manner  of  the 
exquisite  fans  in  France,  for  which  one  pays  as  high  as 
twenty  pounds  ;  or  it  may  be  a  mere  invention  of  the  day  ; 
but  it  must  be  perfect  in  its  way.  Nothing  is  so  inimical 
to  appearance  as  an  ill-made  or  soiled  glove.  There  is 
such  a  wonderful  mixture  of  economy  and  prodigality  in 
the  highest  classes  of  English  society,  that  it  is  not  un- 
common to  see  ladies,  resplendent  in  jewellery,  with  dirty 
gloves  :  in  France,  to  which  we  have,  in  all  ages,  looked  as 
to  a  model,  such  a  barbarism  could  never  occur.  Every 
trifle  in  a  lady's  costume  is  perfect.  She  would  rather  go 
out  in  a  shabby  gown  than  in  a  collar  of  false  lace,  or  with 
dirty  gloves,  or  begrimed  white  satin  shoes.  It  is  not  so 
in  England  :  ladies  who  spend  pounds  upon  a  cap  or  a 
scarf,  will  hesitate  before  they  put  on  xa  clean  pair  of 
gloves.  Dinner-parties  are  so  often  the  prelude  only, 
in  London,  to  the  festivities  of  the  evening,  that  no  strict 
rules  as  to  dress  can  be  set  down.  Generally  speaking, 
there  is  a  great  difference  between  the  dinner-dress  and 
that  of  the  ball.  A  concert,  on  the  other  hand,  or  the 
opera,  requires  only  the  head  to  be  somewhat  more  adorned 
than  at  a  dinner,  and  yet  there  was  a  fashion,  several  years 
since,  of  appearing  even  at  the  Italian  opera  in  the  simple 
toilette  of  a  small  dinner-party.  The  sortie  du  bal,  or  short 
evening-cloak,  is  one  of  the  best  modern  suggestions  for  the 
health,  and  even  appearance,  of  those  who  attend  public 
places  or  enter  into  gay  society.  It  should  be  of  white 
merino,  not  of  scarlet,  which  spoils  the  effect  of  the  wreath 
of  flowers.  All  complicated  trimmings  are  inconsistent ; 
but  the  same  rule  of  perfect  freshness  and  cleanliness  in 
respect  to  gloves  is  applicable  to  the  sortie  du  bal.  I  am 
sorry  to  say  it  is  violated  every  night :  rows  of  ladies  are 


BALL-DRESSING. 


181 


to  be  seen  with  resplendent  gems  in  their  hair,  waiting  for 
their  carriages,  in  sorties  du  bal  that  are  almost  gray  from 
the  effects  of  London  smoke.  The  striking  relief  and  the 
contrast  produced  by  one  or  two  clean  and  fresh  cloaks  of 
this  description  is  quite  singular,  and  proves  the  truth  of 
the  above  recommendation.  And  here  let  us  marvel  against 
the  wonderful  misplaced  economy  that  will  not  permit  an 
English  lady  to  indulge  in  a  new  sortie  du  bal  "  this 
season,"  whilst  she  is,  at  the  same  time,  lavishing  sums 
upon  all  the  endless  et  ceteras  which  Englishwomen  of  the 
nineteenth  century  cannot  do  without. 

At  one  of  the  most  brilliant  balls  at  the  Hotel  de  Ville 
in  Paris,  an  order  was  given  for  the  company,  who  were 
to  be  numbered  on  that  occasion  by  thousands,  to  wait  in 
relays  on  the  grand  staircase  leading  to  the  reception-rooms, 
until  a  certain  hour  of  the  night  or  rather  morning.  This 
order  was  to  prevent  a  rush  to  the  carriages,  and  the 
danger  incident  to  such  a  concourse  wishing  to  leave  at  the 
same  time.  The  ladies  sat  for  an  hour  or  more  on  that 
ample  and  matchless  staircase,  to  the  right  of  which  was 
the  artificial  pool  of  water,  surrounded  by  plants,  and  lighted 
by  lamps,  amid  which  the  spray  of  a  fountain  cast  up 
crystal  drops,  which  fell  dimpling  into  the  water  again. 
The  light  played  upon  the  white  cup  of  a  large  water-lily 
in  the  miniature  pool,  and  the  scene  was  at  once  remark- 
able and  brilliant.  As  I  looked  around  from  the  bottom 
of  the  stairs,  and  about,  I  could  see  many  pale  and  weary 
faces,  but  not  one  dirty  sortie  du  bal :  all  here  as  fresh,  as 
clear,  as  snowy  white  as  if  new  only  that  day  ;  some  lined 
with  cherry  colour  ;  others  with  blue  ;  a  few  with  amber  ; 
most  with  white.  Even  after  all  the  festivities  were  over, 
a  Frenchwoman,  if  she  could  not  look  well,  was  resolved  to 
look  clean. 

Ball-dressing  requires  less  art  than  the  nice  gradations  of 
costume  in  the  dinner  costume,  and  small  evening  party 
dress.  For  a  ball,  everything  even  in  married  women  may 
be  light,  somewhat  fanciful  and  airy.  What  are  called  good 


182 


LADY  S  DRESS. 


dresses  seldom  look  well.  The  heavy,  richly-trimmed  silk, 
is  only  appropriate  to  those  who  do  not  dance  ;  even  for 
such,  as  much  effect  should  be  given  to  those  dresses  as  can 
be  devised.  Taste,  ingenuity,  style,  are  here  most  requisite. 
Since  the  fashions  continually  alter,  there  is  no  possibility 
of  laying  down  specific  rules  ;  the  dress,  however,  for  the 
married,  and  for  the  unmarried  lady  of  rank  or  of  fortune, 
should  be  distinctly  marked.  For  the  married  lady  moire 
dresses,  either  trimmed  with  lace,  or  tulle  and  flowers,  or 
white  silk — no  other  colour  in  plain  silk  looks  well — or 
thin  dresses  over  white  satin,  an  article  which  is  happily 
coming  into  fashion  again,  are  most  suitable.  Diamonds 
on  the  head,  neck,  arms,  she  may  wear  ;  but  the  decoration 
of  the  dress  with  them  should  be  reserved  for  court-balls, 
and  for  court.  Formerly  when  diamonds  were  worn,  flowers 
were  either  considered  unnecessary,  or  even  inconsistent ; 
now  they  are  frequently  intermingled.  Small  feathers  are 
even  worn  at  balls  ;  and,  for  the  married,  produce  perhaps 
more  effect  than  any  other  coiffure  ;  but  they  are  wholly 
out  of  fashion  on  a  young  lady's  head.  The  unmarried,  in- 
deed, so  long  as  they  continue  young,  will  best  consult  their 
own  good  looks  by  as  much  simplicity  as  is  consistent  with 
fashion.  In  Paris  no  ornaments,  with  the  exception,  per- 
haps, of  a  single  bracelet,  are  allowed  to  the  jeune  file  ; 
her  dress  must  be  white ;  the  flowers  in  her  hair  white 
also.  To  these  general  rules  there  are  exceptions,  but  the 
appearance  of  a  French  ball  is  that  of  spotless  white  ;  far 
different  to  the  full  colours  often  worn  in  England. 

White  tulle  over  white  silk  (or  white  lace),  and  bouquets 
of  flowers,  corresponding  to  the  guirlande  or  cachepenie 
on  the  head,  are  the  favoiuite  dress  of  the  young  lady.  A 
par-iire  of  flowers,  consisting  of  two  flowers  mingled,  is  ele- 
gant ;  for  instance,  the  rose  and  heliotrope,  the  parure 
forming  the  wreath  which  extends  down  the  skirt  ;  or,  of 
white  flowers,  the  acacia, — of  blue,  the  myosotis, — of  green, 
the  maidenhair  fern ;  these  are  all  exquisite  ornaments. 
Even  the  large  white  lily  forms  a  beautiful  parure.  The 


THE  HEAD-DRESS. 


183 


French  always  make  use  of  the  flowers  in  season,  but  we 
English  are  less  scrupulous.  A  young  lady  will  wear  a 
wreath  of  lilies  of  the  valley  mixed  with  roses,  in  the  depth 
of  the  winter ;  holly  and  berries  in  June ;  scarlet  geraniums 
in  spring.  Large  daisies  are  also  liable  to  suggest  ludicrous 
ideas.  "  That  lady's  dress  wants  mowing,"  said  a  wag,  look- 
ing at  a  beautiful  tulle  dress,  covered  with  white  daisies 
with  flaring  yellow  centres. 

Nothing,  however,  forms  a  more  beautiful  head-dress  than 
natural  flowers,  carefully  mounted.  The  French  have  a  great 
art  of  mounting  flowers  on  wire,  and  many  of  their  ladies' - 
maids  learn  it ;  some  of  the  ladies  excel  in  it  themselves. 
For  country  balls  and  fetes,  the  effect  is  lovely ;  and  the 
perpetual  variety  obtained  a  source  of  that  surprise  and 
novelty  which  add  so  much  to  the  effect  produced  by  dress. 
The  flowers  should  be  neatly  and  firmly  stuck  upon  wires. 
Variegated  geraniums,  and  all  the  white  varieties  only, 
answer  well ;  white  camellias  (the  red  are  too  heavy),  parti- 
coloured carnations,  the  rose  Devoniensis,  large  white  lilies, 
are  all  suitable  to  hairs  of  various  shades.  A  parure  of 
ivy  is  elegant — but  it  has  become  common  ;  in  spring, 
the  scarlet  ranunculus  has  a  rich  effect ;  in  winter,  the 
hellebore  or  Christmas  rose  is  very  appropriate.  There 
is  one  of  the  carnival  balls  at  Munich,  in  which  the  custom 
of  wearing  natural  flowers  is  almost  des  rigueurs;  it  is  on 
Shrove-Tuesday.  Since  in  that  severe  climate  it  is  diffi- 
cult to  obtain  natural  flowers  in  perfection,  the  wreaths  are 
ordered  in  Paris,  and  are  articles  of  great  expense.  On 
seeing  them  beside  even  the  most  exquisite  artificial  wreaths, 
the  effect  is  striking  ;  every  tint  in  the  latter  has  a  want 
of  that  transparency  which,  in  the  natural  flowers,  is  owing 
to  the  minute  and  almost  invisible  globules  of  water  in  the 
petals  beneath  the  cuticle.  The  richest  hues  pall  before  the 
inimitable  colouring  of  nature.  Amongst  thegarnitures  on 
one  occasion,  that  of  the  Queen  of  Bavaria  was  pre-emi- 
nently beautiful.  She  wore  on  her  head  a  wreath  of  natu- 
ral roses ;  in  the  centre  of  each  rose  hung  a  diamond  dew- 


184 


LADY'S  DRESS. 


drop.  Her  dress  was  white,  trimmed  down  on  either  side 
with  single  roses,  encircled  with  a  single  row  of  diamonds 
each,  as  if  the  dew  hung  round  the  petals ;  in  the  centre 
was  the  diamond  dew-drop.  This  beloved  and  beautiful 
princess,  now,  by  marriage,  the  first  cousin  of  the  Princess 
Royal  of  England,  always  superintends  the  arrangements  of 
her  own  ball  dresses  ;  her  taste  is  exquisite,  and  the  inge- 
nuity with  which  she  varies  her  costumes  is  remarkable. 

As  ladies  advance  in  life,  the  ball-room  seems  scarcely  to 
be  their  province ;  but  since  many  of  them  are  obliged  to 
be  chaperons,  the  style  of  dress  most  becoming  personally, 
and  also  most  consistent  with  that  character,  should  be  con- 
sidered. Many  persons  think  that  it  little  matters  what  a 
middle-aged  lady  wears,  so  long  as  she  looks  neat  and 
respectable,  and  displays  a  sufficient  amount  of  expensive- 
lace,  diamonds,  and  so  many  ells  of  unexceptionable  silk  or 
satin.  I  am  not  of  that  opinion ;  as  long  as  a  face  is  a  face 
fit  to  present  itself  to  society,  so  long  should  good  taste 
carefully  preserve  the  fast-fading  attractions,  not  by  art  and 
cosmetics,  or  false  curls,  or  roses  round  a  sallow  brow,  or 
the  lilies  of  the  field,  which  are  appropriate  to  youth  alone, 
but  by  an  arrangement  of  cap  or  head-dress  that  is  becom- 
ing to  the  poor  old  ruins  ;  just  as  we  like  to  see  the  mant- 
ling ivy  clustering,  ~and  say  how  greatly  it  adds  to  the 
beauty  of  the  old  devastated  fort  or  chapel. 

Under  the  head  of  festive  occasions,  the  court  dress  must 
not  be  admitted. 

This  costume  consists,  first,  of  an  entire  dress,  generally 
made  of  some  plain  but  costly  silk. 

The  dress,  therefore,  forms  one  component  part ;  next 
comes  the  petticoat,  usually  of  some  lighter  material ;  and 
lastly,  the  train. 

The  dress  is  made,  even  for  elderly  ladies,  low ;  and  the 
boddice  is  trimmed  in  accordance  with  the  petticoat  and 
the  train. 

The  petticoat  is  now  usually  formed  of  rich  Brussels  lace,  or 
of  Honiton  lace,  or  tulle ;  and  often  looped  up  with  flowers. 


COUET-DRESS. 


185 


The  train  is  of  the  richest  material  of  the  whole  dress. 
Formerly  it  was  often  of  satin  ;  now  it  is  of  moire*  or  glace 
silk,  though  satin  is  again  beginning  to  be  worn. 

It  fastens  half  round  the  waist,  and  is  about  seven  yards 
in  length,  and  wide  in  proportion.  It  is  trimmed  all  round 
with  lace,  in  festoons,  or  on  the  edge,  with  bimches  of 
flowers  at  intervals,  and  is  lined  usually  with  white  silk. 

The  petticoat  is  ornamented  with  the  same  lace  as  the 
train,  sometimes  in  flounces,  sometimes  in  puffings  or 
bouffons  of  tulle,  sometimes  en  tdblier,  that  is,  down  either 
side. 

The  boddice  and  sleeves  are  all  made  in  strict  uniformity 
with  the  train  and  petticoat. 

The  head-dress  consists  of  feathers,  and  comprises  a 
lappet  of  lace,  hanging  from  either  side  of  the  head  down 
nearly  to  the  tip  of  the  boddice.  Diamonds  or  pearls,  or 
any  other  jewellery  sufficiently  handsome,  may  be  worn  in 
the  hair,  but  the  two  former  are  most  frequently  adopted. 
The  same  ornaments  should  be  worn  on  the  boddice  around 
the  neck  and  arms. 

The  shoes  should  be  of  white  satin,  and  trimmed  accord- 
ing to  fashion.  The  fan  should  be  strictly  a  dress  fan ; 
those  spangled  are  the  most  suitable  for  a  costume  which 
requires  everything  to  be  as  consistent  as  possible  with  the 
occasion. 

Having  thus  treated  of  the  dresses  suited  to  the  house, 
and  to  all  festive  occasions,  there  remains  only  the  riding- 
dress  to  mention. 

In  this  particular  several  changes  have  been  made  during 
the  last  two  or  three  years.  The  round  hat,  of  masculine 
appearance,  is  almost  always  exchanged  for  a  slouched  hat, 
sometimes  of  a  round  form,  and  turned  up  round  the  brim 
— sometimes  turned  up  on  either  side,  and  coming  with  a 
point  low  down  upon  the  forehead — and  sometimes  three- 
cornered  :  all  these  different  forms  have  their  votaries ; 
but  it  must  be  acknowledged  that  the  more  simple  and 
modest  the  shape,  the  more  becoming, 
2  a 


186 


LADY  S  DRESS. 


Formerly,  the  neat  round  hat,  masculine  in  its  form,  was 
unembellished  by  even  a  bow ;  but  now,  a  long,  sweeping 
feather  on  one,  and  sometimes  on  both  sides,  sets  off  the 
riding-hat.  The  colour  of  the  feather  is  varied,  but  is 
usually  black  or  brown,  like  the  hat.  The  feather,  it  may 
here  be  remarked,  should  be  full,  well-curled,  long  and 
firm,  not  thin  and  weak,  as  if  taken  from  an  ostrich  in  a 
moulting  condition.  In  winter,  the  hat  should  be  of  felt, 
of  a  soft  kind,  pliable  and  durable ;  in  summer,  of  a  fine 
straw.  It  is  not  wise  to  get  a  hat  made  by  an  inferior 
hand.  The  style  constitutes  the  grace,  and  renders  it  either 
a  most  becoming  or  a  most  tawdry  feature  in  the  riding- 
dress.  And  here  let  us  remark  on  the  great  benefit  of 
these  slouching  hats  to  the  complexions  which  have  so 
materially  suffered  of  late  years  from  small  bonnets  and 
round  hats.  Health,  with  delicacy,  is  the  true  charm  of 
feminine  physique,  and,  as  far  as  a  riding  costume  is  con- 
cerned, nothing  secures  the  freshness  of  the  face  better  than 
the  slouched  hat.  It  is  cool,  and  permits  the  free  circula- 
tion of  air  around  the  face,  while  it  protects  the  eyes,  the 
forehead,  and  almost  the  chin,  from  scorching  heat  or 
withering  blasts. 

Finally,  as  far  as  regards  hats,  let  a  hint  be  thrown  out 
repressing  the  eccentricities  of  a  fantastic  taste  :  The  art  of 
riding  is  in  itself  conspicuous  enough.  A  lady  decked  out 
in  that  position  approaches  the  mountebank  rider  from 
Astley's  or  Franconi's.  Her  costume  may  be  elegant  on  all 
occasions  without  being  outre.  The  moment  her  taste  de- 
generates so  as  to  produce  a  striking  effect,  she  may  be 
sure  she  is  making  a  mistake,  and  nowhere  so  fatally  as  on 
horseback. 

We  must  acknowledge  that  the  change  in  riding-hats  has 
another  good  effect.  The  lady  equestrian  cannot  now  be 
called  masculine.  "  Bist  ein  Mann  oder  eine  Madschen  ?" 
cried  out  a  number  of  little  Rhenish  boys  as  a  young  lady 
galloped  through  a  village  near  Dusseldorf.  The  Spectator 
hag  a  sharp  article  on  the  ambiguous  appearances  of  these 


ETDING-DEESS. 


187 


Amazons,  as  he  styles  them ;  and  in  fact  in  the  last  cen- 
tury, when  scarlet  riding-habits  were  often  worn,  it  must 
have  been  difficult  on  the  riding-field  to  have  distinguished 
a  lady  from  a  gentleman ;  but  now  there  is  something 
picturesque,  stylish,  and  inconsistent  in  the  modest  slouch- 
ing hat,  the  sweeping  feather,  and  beneath  them  the  rich 
clusters  of  hair  bagged,  and  so  confined  in  a  net  of  black 
chenille. 

The  habit  has  sustained  some  changes,  and,  as  far  as 
appearance  is  concerned,  not  for  the  better.  It  used  to  be 
invariably  tight,  well-shaped,  with  close  sleeves.  It  is  now 
often  made  loose,  with  deep  cuffs,  or,  if  worn  tight,  a  loose 
jacket,  or  cosaque,  can  be  put  over  it — an  advantage  in  cold 
weather,  but  certainly  not  to  the  figure,  which  is  never  seen 
to  more  advantage,  be  it  bad  or  good,  than  in  a  tight 
body,  such  as  the  old  riding-habit.  A  plain  white  collar 
of  fine  lawn  should  be  worn  with  the  habit,  deep  lawn  cuffs 
underneath  the  sleeves,  while  gauntlet  gloves  of  thick  lea- 
ther, and  no  ornaments,  save  perhaps  a  delicately -twined 
whip,  need  be  displayed.  Compactness  and  utility  are  the 
requisites  for  the  riding-dress  ;  and,  whilst  touching  on  this 
point,  let  us  impress  strongly  the  danger  arising  from  too 
long  a  skirt  in  the  riding-habit :  it  is  apt  not  only  to  alarm 
horses,  but  to  entangle,  in  case  of  accidents,  their  fair 
riders. 

There,  as  in  other  cases,  the  principle  of  all  that  relates 
to  dress  should  be  consistency  and  suitableness.  If  these 
are  once  lost  sight  of — if  fifty  apes  fifteen — if  the  countess 
dresses  worse  than  her  own  housekeeper,  or  the  maid  vies 
with  her  mistress — if  modest  middle  rank  puts  on  the  garb 
of  fashion — if  good  taste  and  good  sense  cease  to  be  the 
foundation  of  the  important  whole,  then  all  special  direc- 
tions will  be  unavailing. 


CHAPTER  V. 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

Lord  Byron  in  one  of  his  letters  tells  us  that  he  might 
have  been  a  bean,  if  he  had  chosen  to  drink  deep  and  gamble 
fast  enough.  In  Ben  Jonson's  time  the  main  points  of  a 
"  compleat  gentleman"  were  to  swear  a  new  oath  in  every 
sentence,  "  By  the  foot  of  Pharaoh,"  "  As  I  am  a  gentleman 
and  a  soldier,"  and  so  forth ;  to  take  tobacco,  and  swear 
over  its  virtues ;  to  be  able  to  run  friend  or  foe  through 
the  heart  with  a  bodkin  ;  and  to  write  a  copy  of  silly  verses 
to  a  by  no  means  inaccessible  mistress.  Beau  Brummell 
had  only  three  pet  points  :  the  way  he  took  snuff,  opening 
the  box  with  one  hand,  the  ease  with  which  he  cut  an  old 
acquaintance,  and  the  grace  with  which  he  bowed  to  a  new 
one.  Lord  Chesterfield  seems  to  think  that  if  a  man  can 
ride,  fence,  and  dance  well,  he  is  skilled  enough  for  good 
society.  The  three  requirements  are  worth  noticing.  The 
first  was  essential,  if  you  would  have  male  friends,  in  days 
when  knighthood  was  not  quite  a  shadow ;  the  second 
allowed  you  to  make  good  enemies,  and  kill  or  keep  them  ; 
the  third  fitted  you  for  the  society  of  women. 

The  accomplishments  of  to-day,  though  they  differ  in 
many  respects,  have  the  same  general  bearing.  In  a  man 
they  are  the  arts  required  to  keep  a  friend,  to  make  an 
enemy,  and  to  charm  a  woman ;  in  a  woman,  to  surpass  a 
rival  and  to  captivate  a  man  of  more  taste  than  heart.  For 
both,  however,  they  have  a  far  higher  object,  that,  namely, 
of  giving  pleasure  to  our  fellow-creatures  in  some  form  or 
other,  and  of  increasing  the  general  harmony  of  society. 
188 


THEIE  REAL  VALUE. 


189 


They  are  in  fact  those  corollaries  to  the  problem  of  educa- 
tion, by  which  a  person  is  fitted  not  only  to  "  pass,"  but  to 
"  take  honours"  in  the  social  examination.  While  it  is  im- 
possible to  deny  that  a  man  may  be  a  perfect  gentleman,  a 
woman  a  well-bred  lady,  and  both  of  them  agreeable  in 
society,  without  a  single  accomplishment,  we  all  of  us  feel 
that  such  a  person  must  either  possess  no  usual  wit,  like 
Dr.  Johnson,  who  had  not  one  accomplishment  to  add  to 
his  sound  sense  and  learning,  or  be  one  who,  content  to  fill 
a  quiet  corner  in  life,  does  not  care  to  emerge  from  it  even 
for  the  benefit  of  others. 

Accomplishments  have  a  heavy  run  against  them  in  the 
present  day,  and  are  decidedly  at  a  discount.  "  Give  me," 
cries  Paterfamilias,  bringing  his  fist  with  a  heavy  thump 
down  on  the  table,  <c  give  me  good  sterling  practical  know- 
ledge, and  none  of  your  pishty-whishty  humbugging  accom- 
plishments." Paterfamilias,  you  err,  like  many  a  British 
father,  and  in  your  love  of  the  practical,  you  are  blind  to 
the  immense  advantage  of  cultivating  the  beautiful  in  every 
young  soul.  Paterfamilias,  to  take  the  most  serious  ground 
with  you,  it  is  the  practical  which  shall  lead  you  to  money- 
bags and  account-books,  but  the  beautiful  which  shall 
guide  you  towards  heaven.  These  same  accomplishments 
at  which  you  sneer  have  a  much  deeper  meaning  and  value 
for  your  children  than  merely  to  shine  in  society.  They 
constitute  the  whole  amateurship  of  art,  and  in  the  present 
day  to  be  thoroughly  accomplished  is  to  be  half  an  artist ; 
yet  the  better  half.  You  may  not  be  able  to  give  a  concert 
in  Hanover  Square  Rooms,  but  you  have  cultivated  the 
music  that  lies  within  your  soul.  And  there  is  music  in 
every  soul,  and  music  is  the  most  beautiful  expression  of 
peace  and  harmony  ;  and  harmony  is  the  most  beautiful 
law  of  nature,  of  creation,  the  first  rule  of  God.  You  may 
not  be  able  to  exhibit  a  picture  in  the  Royal  Academy,  but 
you  have  learned  to  copy  God's  work,  and  learning  to  copy 
you  have  learned  to  observe  and  to  know ;  and  to  know 
God's  work,  is  to  know  God  in  His  work.    Believe  me, 


190 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


Paterfamilias,  the  study  of  art  rightly  undertaken  is  the 
study  of  God,  and  it  is  by  cultivating  the  beautiful  that  you 
approach  heaven. 

I  do  not  say  that  every  man  can  be  a  Crichton,  but  I 
do  say  that  every  man  should  aim  at  that  character  in  some 
way,  both  for  his  own  sake  and  that  of  those  around  him. 
How  much  more  so  a  woman,  whose  very  mission  is  to 
make  life  less  burdensome  to  man,  to  soothe  and  comfort 
him,  to  raise  him  from  his  petty  cares  to  happier  thoughts, 
to  purer  imaginings,  towards  heaven  itself. 

At  first  sight  accomplishments  seem  to  belong  to  women 
more  than  to  men,  but  if  we  look  more  closely  into  the 
subject  we  shall  find  that  a  man  has  a  double  necessity 
upon  him  ;  he  must  be  fit,  on  the  one  hand,  for  the  society 
of  men,  on  the  other  for  that  of  women,  and  this  involves 
a  double  list  of  acquirements  ;  while  those  of  women,  which 
make  them  charming  to  men,  fit  them  also  for  the  company 
of  their  own  sex. 

Thus  we  must  refuse  in  this  case  the  'place  aux  dames, 
and  take  the  men  first.  To  mix  comfortably  with  the 
society  of  his  own  sex  must  be  the  first  object  to  a  man, 
properly  so  called,  and  to  do  this  he  requires  to  know  a 
certain  number  of  arts  which  are  common  among  his  own. 

Foremost  of  these  is  the  art  of  self-defence,  which  is  one 
which  society  constantly  calls  into  requisition.  Fortunately 
the  duel  is  gone  out  of  fashion,  and  a  man  need  not  now, 
as  in  the  days  of  good  Queen  Bess,  come  to  town  to  learn 
how  to  pick  and  take  a  quarrel,  and  how  to  get  well  out  of 
it  when  made.  Fencing  in  England  is  now  nothing  more 
than  an  exercise,  no  longer  qualifying  a  man  to  take  his 
place  as  a  gentleman  among  his  betters  ;  but  that  which  has 
succeeded  to  it  is  not  without  its  importance,  and  the  "  com- 
pleat  gentleman"  should  be  able  to  use  his  fists.  Low  as  this 
art  is,  and  contemptible  as  are  those  who  make  a  profession 
of  it,  it  is  nevertheless  of  importance  to  a  man  of  every 
class,  for  a  good  blow  often  solves  a  difficulty  as  readily  as 
Alexander's  sword  cut  the  Gordian  knot.    There  are  men 


BOXING. 


191 


whom  nothing  "but  a  physical  punishment  will  bring  to  reason, 
and  with  these  we  shall  have  to  deal  at  some  time  of  our  lives. 
A  lady  is  insulted  or  annoyed  by  an  unwieldy  bargee,  or 
an  importunate  and  dishonest  cabman.  One  well-dealt 
blow  settles  the  whole  matter.  It  is  true  that  it  is  brutal, 
and  certainly  should  be  a  last  resource  ;  but  to  last  re- 
sources we  are  often  driven,  and  a  show  of  determination 
brings  impudence  to  an  armistice.  I  would  say,  then, 
know  how  to  use  your  fists,  but  never  use  them  as  long  as 
any  other  argument  will  prevail,  but,  when  all  others  fail, 
have  recourse  to  that  natural,  and  certainly  most  convincing 
logic.  A  man,  therefore,  whether  he  aspires  to  be  a  gentle- 
man or  not,  should  learn  to  box.  It  is  a  knowledge  easily 
gained.  There  are  but  few  rules  for  it,  and  those  are 
suggested  by  common  sense.  Strike  out,  strike  straight, 
strike  suddenly  ;  keep  one  arm  to  guard,  and  punish  with 
the  other.  Two  gentlemen  never  fight  •  the  art  of  boxing 
is  only  brought  into  use  in  punishing  a  stronger  and  more 
impudent  man  of  a  class  beneath  your  own. 

There  is  good  in  everything,  and  there  is  a  view  to  take 
of  the  pugilistic  art  which  compensates  in  some  measure 
for  its  brutal  character  in  this  country.  The  fist  has  ex- 
pelled the  sword  and  pistol.  The  former  indeed  went  out 
about  the  beginning  of  last  century,  and  Beau  Nash,  though 
by  no  means  a  coward,  did  his  best  to  put  down  the  wearing 
of  a  weapon  which  was  a  perpetual  temptation  to  commit 
polite  murder  and  disturb  the  harmony  essential  to  good 
society.  There  could  be  no  comfort  and  no  freedom  in 
conversation  when,  instead  of  politely  differing  with  you,  a 
man's  hand  moved  to  his  sword-hilt.  It  is  no  argument 
against  me  that  the  rapier  is  still  worn  at  court,  for  I  feel 
convinced  that  nine-tenths  of  those  ornamental  but  utterly 
useless  appendages  would  never  be  induced  to  quit  their 
scabbards,  and,  even  if  drawn,  would  be  of  no  more  value 
than  a  stick  in  the  hands  of  at  least  nine-tenths  of  their 
courtly  owners. 

But  it  was  another  kind  of  biped  who  put  down  duelling* 


192 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


and  a  cock-pheasant  of  Wimbledon-Common,  jealous,  no 
doubt,  at  seeing  the  powder  which  ought  to  have  been  used 
for  him,  thrown  away  upon  a  human  being,  or  perhaps 
anxious  to  try  whether  a  bullet  tasted  better  than  shot, 
who  had  the  honour  of  making  these  encounters  so  superbly 
ridiculous,  that  to  call  a  man  out  in  the  present  day  is 
equivalent  to  calling  him  a  fool  and  confessing  yourself 
idiotic.  There  are  those,  however,  who  regret  the  palmy 
days  of  twelve  paces  and  coffee  for  four,  and  tell  us  that 
the  fear  of  a  hole  in  the  waistcoat  kept  many  an  impudent 
man  in  his  place  and  restrained  unwarrantable  familiarity. 
With  all  submission  I  would  suggest  that  the  fear  of  being 
knocked  down  on  the  spot,  and  having  his  beauty  spoiled, 
is  likely  to  be  much  more  persuasive  to  a  man  who  can 
offend  in  this  manner.  But  will  you  kindly  look  across 
the  water  either  way,  and  tell  me  if  the  silly  custom,  kept 
up  both  in  Europe  and  America,  has  there  the  effect  of 
awing  men  into  even  decent  politeness  %  In  the  latter 
country,  especially,  where  a  "  difficulty"  almost  always 
ends  fatally,  it  is  by  no  means  uncommon  for  a  complete 
stranger  to  put  his  hands  into  his  pockets,  cock  his  eye  at 
you,  and  inform  you  by  way  of  introduction,  "Wall,  I  guess 
you're  a  tarnation  loggerhead,  yeeou  aire,"  proceeding  to 
pass  comments  on  your  nationality,  your  personal  appear- 
ance, and  your  general  mental  capacities,  according  to  the 
"  guess,"  "  reckoning,"  or  "  cal-cyoo-lation"  of  the  speaker. 
If  you  were  to  meet  these  with  astonishment,  indignation, 
anger,  or,  in  short,  in  any  way  but  by  the  retort  personal  and 
direct  of  the  tu  quoque  description,  you  would  be  looked  on  as 
a  disagreeable,  testy,  and  pugnacious  Britisher,  and  the  rest 
of  the  company  would  probably  request  you  to  "  shut  up." 
In  fact  so  universal  is  insolence  in  America,  that  even  in 
what  is  there  called  good  society — the  "  up-town"  sets — 
you  are  liable  to  be  assailed  with  the  grossest  epithets,  and 
it  is  only  after  being  bespattered  with  essence  of  Billings- 
gate, that  you  would  be  allowed  to  remark,  "  Wall,  that's 
wme,  that  is  ;  I  reckon  my  dander's  ris  a  bit  after  that." 


FIELD  SPORTS. 


193 


Of  course  these  remarks  do  not  apply  to  New  York,  which, 
in  civilisation,  is  as  far  in  advance  of  the  States  generally, 
as  London  is  of  the  Hebrides. 

It  is  no  longer  necessary,  therefore,  to  give  the  etiquette 
of  duelling,  which  may  be  gathered,  as  a  curiosity,  from 
almost  every  novel  written  twenty  years  ago.  It  would  be 
as  sensible  to  give  the  etiquette  of  murder.  As  to  its 
immorality,  it  has  been  discussed  again  and  again,  and 
the  custom  has  been  finally  condemned  on  that  score. 

Of  course  to  knock  a  man  down  is  never  good  manners, 
but  there  is  a  way  of  doing  it  gracefully,  and  one  rule 
should  be  observed,  viz.,  whether  you  can  command  your 
temper  or  not,  never  show  it,  except  by  the  blow.  Never 
assail  an  offender  with  words,  nor  when  you  strike  him, 
use  such  expressions  as,  "  Take  that,"  &c.  There  are  cases 
in  society  when  it  is  quite  incumbent  on  you  to  knock  an 
offender  down,  if  you  can,  whether  you  feel  angry  or  not, 
so  that,  if  to  do  so  is  not  precisely  good  manners,  to  omit 
it  is  sometimes  very  bad  manners  ;  and  to  box,  and  that 
well,  is  therefore  an  important  accomplishment,  particularly 
for  little  men. 

It  is  decidedly  a  relief  to  quit  that  subject,  and  I  am  not 
ambitious  of  emulating  those  gentlemen  of  the  sword  of 
Queen  Elizabeth's  day,  who,  for  a  small  gratuity,  would 
decide  for  you  whether  your  honour  was  hurt  or  not — a 
question  they  usually  contrived  to  answer  in  the  negative, 
to  the  great  relief  and  satisfaction  of  the  applicant. 

Our  field  sports  have  been  so  often  and  justly  lauded, 
that  I  shall  not  now  speak  of  them  in  a  constitutional  point 
of  view,  but  their  effect  on  society  is  a  matter  of  no  small 
interest,  and  it  is  extremely  agreeable  to  Englishmen  to  be 
reminded  of  points  of  their  superiority  over  their  neigh- 
bours. I  am  inclined  to  think  that  our  love  of  sports,  if 
it  spoils  the  London  season,  and  makes  dancing  a  torment, 
does  none  the  less  assist  our  women  to  be  virtuous,  and  our 
men  to  be  noble.  The  effect  of  a  want  of  good,  healthy 
out- door  amusements  is  to  make  of  a  man  either  a  carpet- 
2b 


194 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


knight,  or  a  hanger  about  cafe's.  The  life  of  cities  tends 
to  demoralize,  and  anything  which  takes  a  man  away  from 
a  town  for  a  time  has  its  value.  Thus  hunting,  shooting, 
riding,  driving,  cricket,  and  so  forth,  are  as  important  ele- 
ments of  social  life  as  dancing  and  music,  and  to  be  igno- 
rant of  their  art  will  not  only  exclude  one  from  much 
charming  society  we  might  sometimes  enjoy,  but  will  often 
cause  us  to  put  others  to  great  inconvenience,  if  it  does 
not  equally  annoy  ourselves.  Often  in  the  country  there 
is  no  other  conveyance  but  a  horse  and  saddle  to  be  had. 
What  are  we  to  do  if  we  cannot  ride  1  Still  oftener  the 
whole  arrangement  of  some  party  of  pleasure  depends  on 
our  being  able  to  leave  the  coachman  behind,  and  it  is  to 
us,  the  only  gentleman  perhaps,  that  the  ladies  apply  to 
take  his  place.  How,  then,  if  we  cannot  handle  a  whip  1 
Then,  too,  in  the  country,  riding  and  driving  are  such 
common  accomplishments,  that  besides  the  inconvenience, 
our  ignorance  of  them  subjects  us  even  to  ridicule.  What 
more  laughable  than  a  man  jolted  up  and  down  on  his 
horse,  till  his  hat  slips  to  the  back  of  his  head,  his  hair 
flies  about,  his  trousers  creep  up  to  his  knees,  and  his  face  ex- 
presses either  pitiable  misery  or  ludicrous  discomfort  ?  On  the 
other  hand,  to  hunt,  shoot,  handle  a  bat,  or  a  billiard-cue, 
though  by  no  means  expected  of  every  man,  are  often  the  only 
amusements  in  the  country,  and  we  may,  if  ignorant  of  them, 
not  only  be  shut  out  from  them  ourselves,  but  even  oblige 
our  host  to  give  them  up  on  our  account.  In  fact,  the  more 
of  such  accomplishments  you  know,  the  less  tedious  will 
your  life  be  to  yourself  and  your  company  to  others,  and 
though  wit  and  conversation  are  worth  all  the  amusements 
which  a  toy-maker  could  dream  of,  you  must  not  forget 
that  the  world  is  mainly  peopled  with  fools,  and  that  to 
appreciate  your  sallies,  and  join  in  your  mirth,  requires  an 
amount  of  sense  which  is  not  to  be  found  in  every  country 
bumpkin.  Should  the  weird  sisters,  in  a  fit  of  bad  temper,, 
send  you  by  express  to  sojourn  for  a  month  with  a  gentle- 
man-farmer or  small  hunting  squire,  what  can  you  do  but 


RIDING. 


195 


shoot,  ride,  or  drive  with  him  1  Will  your  heavy-headed 
host,  who  dreams  of  partridges,  and  vacillates  between 
long-horns  and  turnips  in  his  waking  thoughts,  care  for 
your  choice  club-gossip,  understand  your  fine-edged  wit,  or 
thank  you  for  your  political  news  and  Parliamentary  pro- 
spects 1  No,  no  ;  you  must  relate,  slowly  and  surely,  how 
on  such  a  day  in  such  a  year  you  "  met "  at  such  a  village, 
"  drew"  such  a  cover,  threw  off  in  such  a  direction,  "  cast" 
at  such  a  spot,  ran  for  so  many  minutes,  and  made  so  many 
wonderful,  probably  also  apocryphal,  leaps  during  that 
period.  Relate  how  many  birds  you  bagged,  what  score 
you  made  at  any  insignificant  cricket-match,  and  how  you 
swam  from  Barnes  to  Brentford  against  tide  and  stream. 
Then,  indeed,  is  your  man  your  friend,  and  he  will  privately 
impart  to  his  wife  that  evening  that  he  thinks  you  "  an 
amazingly  fine  fellow,"  which  would  have  sounded  very  like 
"  horrid  bore,"  if  you  had  not  been  able  to  come  out  on 
these  subjects. 

I  have  no  intention  to  trespass  on  Mr.  Karey's  province, 
and  I  am  further  of  opinion  that  equitation  cannot,  like 
grammar,  be  learned  from  a  book,  but  there  are  a  few  use- 
ful hints  about  the  etiquette  of  riding,  which  may  well  be 
introduced  here.  The  first  thing,  then,  is  to  dress  suitably. 
Boots  and  cords  were  once  the  sine  qud  non  of  a  horseman, 
but  though  they  are  very  comfortable,  and  may  still  be 
worn  in  the  country,  when  you  are  not  going  to  ride  with 
ladies,  they  have  been  interdicted  in  town,  and  would  mark 
you  out  as  a  riding-master.  On  the  other  hand,  you  must 
avoid  too  fine  a  dress,  such  as  patent  leather  boots,  and 
should  wear  a  cut-away  in  preference  to  a  frock-coat.  Above 
all,  let  the  stick  or  whip  be  simple,  with  no  gold  head,  no 
flummery  about  it.  For  the  country,  you  may  have  what  is 
commonly  called  a  "  crop,"  with  a  bone  handle  at  the  end ; 
for  town,  you  may  take  either  an  ordinary  walking-stick,  or 
a  gentleman's  riding-whip,  mounted  simply  with  silver.  In 
all  other  respects,  your  dress  should  be  that  in  which  you 
walk.  The  lady's  dress  has  been  described  in  the  last  chapter. 


196 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


A  man  who  rides  without  ladies  requires  no  groom  to 
follow  him,  and  a  young  man  particularly  should  never 
take  one,  even  though  he  intends  to  make  calls.  A  lady, 
on  the  other  hand,  should  never  ride  alone,  except  in  quiet 
parts  of  the  country.  In  London  she  would  be  taken  for 
a  demoiselle  du  cirque,  and  in  the  country  she  would  be 
liable  to  accidents,  with  no  one  to  assist  her.  A  young 
lady  should  not  ride  out  without  a  gentleman,  as  well  as 
a  groom,  and,  under  most  circumstances,  mamma  would 
decidedly  object  to  that  gentleman  being  young  and  single, 
unless  he  were  a  very  intimate  friend. 

Having  thus  arranged  your  dress  and  your  party,  you  go 
down  and  mount-^-no,  you  do  not  mount  yourself,  but  assist 
the  ladies.  There  never  was  so  lame  a  legend  as  that  of  a 
certain  lady  of  Coventry,  whom  Tennyson  and  Thomas  the 
Inquisitive  have  rendered  celebrated.  Of  course  it  is  very 
pretty,  and  we  who  honour  women  as  we  should  (though 
we  burnt  la  Pucelle  a"  Orleans),  and  have  had  a  range  of 
noble  ones  from  Boadicea  to  Florence  Nightingale,  can  well 
believe  that  Godiva  was  as  modest  as  she  was  merciful ; 
but  have  we  ever  asked — who  assisted  her  ?  Perhaps  you 
will  tell  me  that  till  a  very  recent  period,  no  stable-yard 
was  without  a  flight  of  three  stone-steps  standing  by  them- 
selves, and  that  women  always  mounted  from  these.  I 
know  it,  and  have  seen  hundreds  of  them  in  the  western 
counties  ;  but  before  I  admit  your  argument,  you  must 
show  me  that  these  steps  existed  in  the  days  of  the  fair 
equestrian  who  wore  no  garb  but  modesty ;  you  must  prove 
that  those  people  are  wrong  who  describe  the  ladies  of  the 
olden  time  as  mounting  from  the  shoulder  of  a  serving- 
man  or  a  gallant. 

However  this  may  be,  neither  steps  nor  shoulders  are  so 
good  as  a  steady  hand,  which  is  the  means  patronized  by 
modern  horsewomen.  The  lady  having  gathered  up  her 
skirt,  and  holding  it  in  her  left  hand,  must  place  herself  as 
close  as  possible  to  the  horse,  with  her  face  towards  the 
animal's  head,  and  her  right  hand  on  the  pummel.  The 


MOUNTING  AND  THE  SEAT. 


197 


gentleman,  whose  part  and  privilege  it  is  to  assist  her, 
having  first  obtained  her  consent  to  do  so,  then  places 
himself  at  the  horse's  shoulder  with  his  face  towards  the 
lady,  and,  stooping  a  little,  places  his  right  hand  horizon- 
tally at  a  convenient  elevation  from  the  ground.  On  the 
palm  of  this  hand  the  damsel  sets  her  sweet  little  left  foot, 
and  it  is  then  the  gentleman's  duty  to  lift  it  with  a  gentle 
motion  as  she  herself  springs  upwards.  But  beware  that 
you  do  not  jerk  it  up  too  suddenly,  lest  she  lose  her  balance 
and  be  thrown  back  over  the  saddle.  I  have  seen  a  lady 
nearly  killed  by  awkward  mounting. 

A  man  should  be  able  to  mount  on  either  side  of  the 
horse,  and  ladies  who  ride  much  and  wish  to  keep  their 
figures  straight,  change  the  side  from  time  to  time.  When 
the  lady  is  in  the  saddle  you  should  offer  to  put. her  foot 
in  the  stirrup  and  to  pull  down  the  skirt,  and  you  then  give 
her  the  reins,  and  proceed  to  mount  yourself.  Mr.  Rarey 
teaches  us  to  do  so  without  stirrups,  and  a  man  who  would 
be  graceful  should  practise  this  on  either  side.  A  horse, 
like  most  other  animals,  has  two  sides.  The  one  which  is 
to  our  left  when  we  are  in  the  saddle  is  called  the  near, 
the  other  the  of  side,  and  it  is  on  the  former  that  we 
generally  mount.  We  place  our  left  foot  in  the  stirrup, 
our  left  hand  on  the  saddle,  and  swing  ourselves  up,  throw- 
ing the  right  leg  over  the  creature's  back.  Nothing  is 
more  graceless  than  to  see  a  man  climb  with  both  hands 
into  his  seat. 

The  seat  itself  is  one  of  those  things  which  must  be 
learnt  by  practice.  The  chief  rules  are  :  sit  upright,  but 
not  stiffly,  and  well  back  in  the  saddle  ;  stick  the  knees 
into  the  sides  thereof,  and  keep  the  feet  parallel  to  the 
horse's  body,  the  toes  turned  in  rather  than  out.  The  foot 
should  be  about  half-way  in  the  stirrup,  which  in  rough- 
riding  may  be  allowed  to  slip  down  to  the  hollow  of  the 
foot.  The  greatest  obstacle  to  good  riding  is  want  of  con- 
fidence, and  this  can  scarcely  be  acquired,  except  by  begin- 
ning at  an  early  age.    If  you  cannot  ride  decently,  you 


198 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


had  better  not  attempt  it  in  company,  if  you  would  not 
risk  the  fate  of  Geordie  Campbell, — 

"-Saddled,  and  bridled,  and  booted  rode  he, 
Hame  cam  bis  gude  steed,  but  never  cam  he." 

The  rule  of  the  road  need  not  be  observed  in  riding  as  in 
driving,  but  you  should  always  ride  to  the  right  of  the  lady 
who  is  with  you,  lest  you  risk  crushing  her  feet.  Your 
own,  of  course,  you  must  not  care  about.  When  you  meet 
people  whom  you  know  on  horseback,  you  have  no  right  to 
turn  and  join  them,  unless  invited  to  do  so.  If  you  over- 
take them,  on  the  other  hand,  you  have  a  right  to  ride 
with  them ;  but  if  you  are  not  wanted,  you  will  be  careful 
about  exercising  the  privilege. 

About  hunting  I  shall  say  little,  because  I  know  little, 
which  is  a  confession  you  will  find  it  the  wisest  plan  to 
make  in  the  country.  I  shall  only  advise  you  not  to  hunt 
unless  you  have  a  good  seat  and  a  good  horse,  and  never 
accept  the  loan  of  a  friend's  horse,  still  less  an  enemy's, 
unless  you  can  ride  very  well.  A  man  may  forgive  you 
for  breaking  his  daughter's  heart,  but  never  for  breaking 
his  hunter's  neck.  Another  point  is  always  to  be  quiet  at 
a  meet,  and  never  join  a  small  meet  unless  you  know  some 
one  in  the  field.  The  first  essential  for  hunting  is  pluck ; 
the  second,  skill ;  the  third,  a  good  horse.  Avoid  talking 
of  your  achievements,  enthusiastic  shouting  when  you  break 
cover,  and  riding  over  the  hounds.  Whatever  you  do,  do 
not  injure  one  of  those  precious  animals. 

There  is  a  grace  in  riding  which  no  jockey,  no  profes- 
sional huntsman  ever  acquires.  When  once  you  have  con- 
fidence, ease  may  soon  follow ;  but  without  much  practice, 
you  will  always  be  more  or  less  stiff  in  your  seat.  A  lady 
should  be  careful  to  sit  straight  in  the  middle  of  the  saddle, 
with  her  face  full  towards  the  horse's  head.  Whatever  the 
motion  of  the  animal,  you  should  attempt  to  cling  as  closely 
as  possible  to  the  saddle.  The  Austrian  officers  pride 
themselves  on  being  able  to  trot  for  a  mile  with  a  glass  of 


DRIVING. 


199 


wine  in  one  hand,  and  not  spill  a  drop  of  it.  In  England 
we  rise  in  trotting,  as  a  relief  to  ourselves  and  the  horse, 
but  this  is  never  done  in  any  other  country.  The  first 
rule  is  to  rise,  not  from  the  stirrup,  but  from  the  knees ; 
the  second,  to  rise  as  little  as  possible.  The  man  who 
"  shows  daylight"  between  himself  and  his  saddle  is  a  bad 
rider.  A  lady  should  rise  even  less  than  a  man,  and 
neither  of  them  should  lean  over  the  horse's  neck,  nor  hold 
the  reins  in  both  hands.  But  I  am  not  a  riding-master, 
and  I  am  trespassing  on  his  ground. 

Driving,  again,  is  an  accomplishment  of  butcher's  boys 
and  hansom  cabmen  as  much  as  of  "  gentlemen,"  but 
there  is  a  vast  difference  in  the  style.  One  rule  may  be 
given  at  once,  and  we  may  unhesitatingly  affirm  that  Jehu 
the  son  of  Nimshi  was  "  no  gentleman,"  when  we  remind 
you  that  to  drive  furiously,  as  well  as  to  ride  furiously,  is 
not  only  forbidden  by  law,  but  a  low,  cruel,  ungentleman- 
like  habit. 

"  The  beggar  motnted  rides  his  horse  to  death." 

If  you  drive  too  fast,  I  am  tempted  to  ask  whether  the 
animal  is  your  own,  and  whether  you  know  its  value.  I 
may  add,  that  if  wise  you  will  never  drive  other  people's 
horses  unless  asked  to  do  so.  The  rule  of  the  road  in 
England  is  a  curious  instance  of  our  national  distinctive- 
ness. In  every  other  country  that  I  know,  the  law  is 
simple  enough  :  always  keep  to  the  right  side  of  the  road. 
In  this  land,  on  the  contrary,  you  must  take  the  left  when 
you  meet,  and  the  right  when  you  pass.  The  custom,  I 
believe,  originated  in  that  of  shaking  hands  with  every  one 
you  met,  which  reminds  me  of  a  pretty  one  they  once 
had,  and  even  now  retain  in  some  parts  of  France,  that  of 
a  man  and  lady  riding  hand  in  hand  together.  I  have 
even  ridden  arm  in  arm  with  a  fair-haired  blue-eyed  Norman 
girl,  and  if  I  did  not  snatch  a  kiss  there  and  then,  it  was 
not  for  fear  of  losing  my  balance.  Well,  our  grandmothers 
used  to  ride  on  one  horse  with  our  grandfathers,  tucking 


200 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


their  fingers  into  the  belts  which  the  latter  wore,  and 
seated  on  the  pillion  much  more  comfortably  than  their 
grand-daughters  on  the  pummel ;  but  what  horses  they  must 
have  had  in  those  days  ! 

But  to  return  to  driving.  It  is  a  simple  art,  requiring 
care  rather  than  aught  else,  unless  it  be  a  knowledge  of  the 
dispositions  of  the  horse  or  horses  you  undertake  to  drive. 
One  horse  or  a  pair  can  give  but  little  embarrassment,  and 
you  will  seldom  be  called  upon  to  drive  tandem,  unicorn,  or 
four  in  hand.  But,  perhaps,  more  accidents  occur  in  turn- 
ing corners  than  in  anything  else,  and  I  should  not  do  my 
duty,  if  I  did  not  advise  you,  when  the  corner  is  on  your 
right  hand,  to  give  it  a  wide  berth  \  when  on  your  left,  to 
turn  it  gently  and  as  slowly  as  possible. 

The  exercises  which  come  rather  under  the  head  of 
games,  such  as  cricket,  rackets,  tennis,  bowls,  skittles,  and 
a  dozen  others,  are  by  no  means  compulsory  on  any  man 
to  know,  and  I  shall  therefore  leave  their  description  to 
the  many  and  various  guide-books  destined  to  introduce  the 
young  athlete  to  British  Olympics.  But  I  may  remark 
that,  while  these  games  are  purely  republican  in  spirit,  and 
my  lord,  if  clumsy,  ranks  lower  for  the  time  than  the 
skilful  villager,  it  is  no  way  difficult  to  distinguish  the  well- 
bred  man,  whether  a  good  player  or  not.  For  while  he 
yields  entirely  to  the  excitement  of  the  game,  he  will  refuse 
to  join  in  the  silly  familiarities  to  which  it  sometimes  leads. 
You  will  never  hear  him  banter  another  on  his  bad  play, 
nor,  as  too  common  in  some  games,  will  he  vent  oaths  and 
strong  epithets  on  some  one  who  has  made  a  gross  error. 
When  he  does  so  himself,  he  will  confess  himself  wrong, 
and  not  clamorously  defend  himself ;  and,  if  he  has  to  ask 
another  player  for  anything,  he  will  call  to  him  in  an  affable 
not  an  impatient  commanding  tone,  and  use  some  such 
phrase  as :  "  May  I  trouble  you  for  that  ball,  sir  ?"  not 
"  Ball,  you  there,"  as  one  sometimes  hears  it.  In  short,  he 
will  retain,  under  the  excitement  of  the  game,  the  same 
good  bearing  which  he  displays  in  society. 


SPORTS. 


201 


Similar  observations  apply  to  all  kinds  of  out-door 
amusements,  such  as  shooting,  boating,  and  so  forth.  A 
gentleman  will  never  attempt  to  monopolize  the  sport,  and 
however  superior  in  skill  to  his  companions,  will  not  parade 
his  superiority,  still  less  boast  of  it,  but  rather,  that  the 
others  may  not  feel  their  inferiority,  he  will  keep  consider- 
ably within  his  powers.  If  a  guest  or  a  stranger  be  of  the 
party,  the  best  place  and  the  best  sport  must  be  offered  to  him, 
even  though  he  may  be  a  poor  shot,  a  bad  oar,  and  so  on  ; 
but,  at  the  same  time,  if  a  guest  knows  his  inferiority  in 
this  respect,  he  will,  for  more  reasons  than  one,  prefer  an 
inferior  position.  So,  too,  when  a  certain  amount  of  exer- 
tion is  required,  as  in  boating,  a  well-bred  man  will  offer  to 
take  the  greater  share,  and  will  never  shirk  his  work.  In 
short,  the  whole  rule  of  good  manners  on  such  occasions  is 
not  to  be  selfish,  and  the  most  amiable  man  will  therefore 
be  the  best  bred. 

Talking  of  boating  reminds  one  of  old  college  days,  and 
the  healthy  happiness  that  exercise  used  to  bring  one.  It 
is  certainly  desirable  that  a  "  compleat  gentleman"  should 
be  able  to  handle  an  oar  as  well  as  a  gun,  both  that  when 
he  has  the  opportunity  he  may  get  health,  and  that  he  may 
be  able  to  take  part  in  the  charming  excursions  which  are 
made  by  water.  In  fact  a  man  ought  to  be  able  to  turn 
his  hand  to  almost  everything,  and,  what  is  more,  should 
do  himself  whatever  he  can.  It  is  a  false  and  vulgar  pride 
which  prevents  a  man  from  stooping  to  cord  his  own  box, 
carrying  his  own  bag,  weeding  his  own  garden,  cutting  his 
own  hedges  (for  he  must  take  care  not  to  cut  anybody 
else's),  shutting  his  own  shutters,  putting  coal  on  his  own 
fire,  or  what  not.  To  ring  up  a  servant  for  these  things, 
shows  either  laziness  or  a  vulgar  attempt  at  grandeur. 
Indeed,  for  my  part,  nothing  seems  to  me  so  comfortless  as 
the  constant  entrance  of  servants ;  it  interrupts  conversa- 
tion, and  destroys  the  feeling  of  ease  and  privacy.  I  once 
met,  at  the  house  of  a  lady  friend,  the  son  of  a  man  who 
had  begun  life  as  a  grocer,  made  his  fortune  by  a  successful 
2  c 


202 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


speculation,  and  settled  down  in  the  full  conviction  that  he 
was  therefore  a  "  gentleman."  My  friend  had  requested 
the  young  man  to  put  some  coal  on  the  fire,  and  as  he  was 
rather  clumsy  about  it,  he  excused  himself  in  the  following 
speech :  "You  see,  aw — Mrs.  B — ,  that  I  am — aw — really 
not  accustomed  to  do  this  kind  of  thing,  don't  you  see  1 
Now  at  home,  you  see,  the  governor,  when  he  wants  coals, 
rings  the  bell,  and  the  butler  comes  in ;  '  Coal,'  says  the 
old  gentleman,  and  the  butler  disappears  to  tell — aw — the 
upper-footman,  who  thinks  it  beneath  his  dignity,  and 
therefore  tells — aw — the  under-footman,  who  comes  up  and 
puts  it  on."  I  thought  of  the  Anglo-Indians,  who,  in  this 
country,  have  often  had  no  more  servants  than  a  cook,  a 
maid,  and  a  "  buttons,"  and  had  to  do  everything  for  them- 
selves, but  who  once  in  India,  find  it  impossible  to  tie  their 
own  shoe-strings,  and  are  obliged  to  keep  a  twenty-oneth 
or  even  thirty-oneth  servant  for  equally  trivial  offices. 

But  if  a  certain  amount  of  skill  in  out-door  amusements 
is  essential  to  a  man  who  wishes  to  be  agreeable,  how 
much  more  so  in  those  in-door  amusements,  which  are  the 
very  objects  for  which  people  commonly  assemble,  and  are 
therefore  the  continual  accompaniments  of  society  ?  The 
art  of  talking  is,  of  course,  the  first  of  such  accomplish- 
ments, and  as  it  is  a  subject  of  the  highest  importance  and 
very  large  range,  it  has  been  taken  up  in  the  preliminary 
chapter.  But  besides  conversation,  and  sometimes  as  an 
aid  to  it,  parties  and  balls  are  given  for  the  purposes  of 
dancing,  music,  games  (especially  cards),  and  eating  and 
drinking.  Of  the  etiquette  of  these  parties  I  shall  speak 
elsewhere.  I  now  content  myself  with  a  few  hints  on  the 
accomplishments  themselves  which  are  displayed  in  them. 

"Thank  you — aw — I  do  not  dance,"  is  now  a  very 
common  reply  from  a  well-dressed  handsome  man,  who  is 
leaning  against  the  side  of  the  door,  to  the  anxious,  heated 
hostess,  who  feels  it  incumbent  on  her  to  find  a  partner  for 
poor  Miss  Wallflower.  I  say  the  reply  is  not  only  common, 
tut  even  regarded  as  rather  a  fine  one  to  make.    In  short; 


"  i  don't  dance." 


203 


men  of  the  present  day  don't,  won't,  or  can't  dance  ;  and 
you  can't  make  them  do  it,  except  by  threatening  to  give 
them  no  supper.  I  really  cannot  discover  the  reason  for 
this  aversion  to  an  innocent  amusement,  for  the  apparent 
purpose  of  enjoying  which  they  have  spent  an  hour  and  a 
half  on  their  toilet,  and  half-a-crown  on  a  hansom  cabman. 
There  is  something,  indeed,  in  the  heat  of  a  London  ball- 
room in  the  middle  of  July,  there  is  a  great  deal  in  the 
ridiculous  smallness  of  the  closets  into  which  the  ball-giver 
crowds  two  hundred  people,  with  a  cruel  indifference  only 
equalled  by  that  of  the  black-hole  of  Calcutta,  expect- 
ing them  to  enjoy  themselves,  when  the  ladies'  dresses 
are  crushed  and  torn,  and  the  gentlemen,  under  the  des- 
potism of  theirs,  are  melting  away  almost  as  rapidly  as  the 
ices  with  which  an  occasional  waiter  has  the  heartlessness 
to  insult  them.  Then,  again,  it  is  a  great  nuisance  to  be 
introduced  to  a  succession  of  plain,  uninteresting  young 
women,  of  whose  tastes,  mode  of  life,  &c,  you  have  not 
the  slightest  conception  :  who  may  look  gay,  yet  have 
never  a  thought  beyond  the  curate  and  the  parish,  or 
appear  to  be  serious,  while  they  understand  nothing  but  the 
opera  and  Lady  So-and-so's  ball — in  fact,  to  be  in  perpetual 
risk  of  either  shocking  their  prejudices,  or  plaguing  them 
with  subjects  in  which  they  can  have  no  possible  interest ; 
to  take  your  chance  whether  they  can  dance  at  all,  and  to 
know  that  when  you  have  lighted  on  a  real  charmer, 
perhaps  the  beauty  of  the  room,  she  is  only  lent  to  you  for 
that  one  dance,  and  when  that  is  over,  and  you  have 
salaamed  away  again,  you  and  she  must  remain  to  one 
another  as  if  you  had  never  met ;  to  feel,  in  short,  that  you 
must  destroy  either  your  present  comfort  or  future  happi- 
ness, is  certainly  sufficiently  trying  to  keep  a  man  close  to 
the  side-posts  of  the  doorway.  But  these  are  reasons  which 
might  keep  him  altogether  from  a  ball-room,  and  if  he  has 
these  and  other  objections  to  dancing,  he  certainly  cannot 
be  justified  in  coming  to  a  place  set  apart  for  that  sole 
purpose. 


204 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


But  I  suspect  that  there  are  other  reasons,  and  that  in 
most  cases  the  individual  can  dance  and  does  dance  at  times, 
but  has  now  a  vulgar  desire  to  be  distinguished  from  the 
rest  of  his  sex  present,  and  to  appear  indifferent  to  the 
pleasures  of  the  evening.  If  this  be  his  laudable  desire, 
however,  he  might  at  least  be  consistent,  and  continue  to 
cling  to  his  door-post,  like  St.  Sebastian  to  his  tree,  and 
reply  throughout  the  evening  :  "  Thank  you,  I  don't  take 
refreshments  :"  "  Thank  you,  I  can't  eat  supper  :"  "  Thank 
you,  I  don't  talk  :"  "  Thank  you,  I  don't  drink  cham- 
pagne,"— for  if  a  London  ball-room  be  purgatory,  what  a 
demoniacal  conflict  does  a  London  supper-room  present ;  if 
young  ladies  be  bad  for  the  heart,  champagne  is  worse  for 
the  head. 

No,  it  is  the  will  not  the  power  to  dance  which  is  want- 
ing, and  to  refuse  to  do  so,  unless  for  a  really  good  reason, 
is  not  the  part  of  a  well-bred  man.  To  mar  the  pleasure 
of  others  is  obviously  bad  manners,  and  though  at  the  door- 
post you  may  not  be  in  the  way,  you  may  be  certain  that 
there  are  some  young  ladies  longing  to  dance,  and  expect- 
ing to  be  asked,  and  that  the  hostess  is  vexed  and  annoyed 
by  seeing  them  fixed,  like  pictures,  to  the  wall.  It  is  there- 
fore the  duty  of  every  man  who  has  no  scruples  about 
dancing,  and  purposes  to  appear  at  balls,  to  learn  how  to 
dance. 

In  the  present  day  the  art  is  much  simplified,  and  if  you 
can  walk  through  a  quadrille,  and  perform  a  polka,  waltz, 
or  galop,  you  may  often  dance  a  whole  evening  through. 
Of  course,  if  you  can  add  to  these  the  Lancers,  Schottische, 
and  Polka- Mazurka,  you  will  have  more  variety,  and  can 
be  more  generally  agreeable.  But  if  your  master  or  mistress 
(a  man  learns  better  from  the  former)  has  stuffed  into 
your  head  some  of  the  three  hundred  dances  which  he 
tells  you  exist,  the  best  thing  you  can  do  is  to  forget  them 
again.  Whether  right  or  wrong,  the  number  of  usual 
dances  is  limited,  and  unusual  ones  should  be  very  sparingly 
introduced  into  a  ball,  for  as  few  people  know  them,,  their 


THE  QUADRILLE. 


205 


dancing,  on  the  one  hand,  becomes  a  mere  display,  and,  on 
the  other,  interrupts  the  enjoyment  of  the  majority. 

The  quadrille  is  pronounced  to  be  essentially  a  conversa- 
tional dance,  but  inasmuch  as  the  figures  are  perpetually 
calling  you  away  from  your  partner,  the  first  necessity  for 
dancing  a  quadrille  is  to  be  supplied  with  a  fund  of  small 
talk,  in  which  you  can  go  from  subject  to  subject  like  a  bee 
from  flower  to  flower.  The  next  point  is  to  carry  yourself 
uprightly.  Time  was  when — as  in  the  days  of  the  menuet 
de  la  cour — the  carriage  constituted  the  dance.  This  is 
still  the  case  with  the  quadrille,  in  which  even  if  ignorant 
of  the  figures,  you  may  acquit  yourself  well  by  a  calm  grace- 
ful carriage.  After  all,  the  most  important  figure  is  the 
smile,  and  the  feet  may  be  left  to  their  fate,  if  we  know  what 
to  do  with  our  hands  ;  of  which  I  may  observe  that  they 
should  never  be  pocketed. 

The  smile  is  essential.  A  dance  is  supposed  to  amuse, 
and  nothing  is  more  out  of  place  in  it  than  a  gloomy  scowl, 
unless  it  be  an  ill-tempered  frown.  The  gaiety  of  a  dance 
is  more  essential  than  the  accuracy  of  its  figures,  and  if  you 
feel  none  yourself,  you  may  at  least  look  pleased  by  that  of 
those  around  you.  A  defiant  manner  is  equally  obnoxious. 
An  acquaintance  of  mine  always  gives  me  the  impression, 
when  he  advances  in  Fete,  that  he  is  about  to  box  the  lady 
who  comes  to  meet  him.  But  the  most  objectionable  of  all 
is  the  supercilious  manner.  Dear  me,  if  you  really  think 
you  do  your  partner  an  honour  in  dancing  with  her,  you 
should  at  least  remember  that  your  condescension  is  annulled 
by  the  manner  in  which  you  treat  her. 

A  lady — beautiful  word  ! — is  a  delicate  creature,  one  who 
should  be  reverenced  and  delicately  treated.  It  is  therefore 
unpardonable  to  rush  about  in  a  quadrille,  to  catch  hold  of 
the  lady  s  hand  as  if  it  were  a  door-handle,  or  to  drag  her 
furiously  across  the  room,  as  if  you  were  Bluebeard  and  she 
Fatima,  with  the  mysterious  closet  opposite  to  you.  This 
brusque  violent  style  of  dancing  is  unfortunately  common, 
but  immediately  stamps  a  man.    Though  I  would  not  have 


206 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


you  wear  a  perpetual  simper,  you  should  certainly  smile 
when  you  take  a  lady's  hand,  and  the  old  custom  of  bowing 
in  doing  so,  is  one  that  we  may  regret ;  for  does  she  not 
confer  an  honour  on  us  by  the  action  ?  To  squeeze  it,  on 
the  other  hand,  is  a  gross  familiarity,  for  which  you  would 
deserve  to  be  kicked  out  of  the  room. 

"  Steps,"  as  the  chasser  of  the  quadrille  is  called,  belong 
to  a  past  age,  and  even  ladies  are  now  content  to  walk 
through  a  quadrille.  To  be  graceful,  however,  a  lady 
should  hold  her  skirt  out  a  little.  In  France  this  is  done 
with  one  hand,  which  I  am  inclined  to  think  is  more  grace- 
ful than  holding  it  with  both.  It  is,  however,  necessary 
to  keep  time  with  the  music,  the  great  object  being  the 
general  harmony.  To  preserve  this,  it  is  also  advisable, 
where  the  quadrille,  as  is  now  generally  the  case,  is  danced 
by  two  long  lines  of  couples  down  the  room,  that  in  Fete, 
and  other  figures,  in  which  a  gentleman  and  lady  advance 
alone  to  meet  one  another,  none  but  gentlemen  should 
advance  from  the  one  side,  and  therefore  none  but  ladies 
from  the  other. 

Dancing  masters  find  it  convenient  to  introduce  new 
figures,  and  the  fashion  of  La  Trenise  and  the  Grande  Ronde 
is  repeatedly  changing.  It  is  wise  to  know  the  last  mode, 
but  not  to  insist  on  dancing  it.  A  quadrille  cannot  go  on 
evenly  if  any  confusion  arises  from  the  ignorance,  obstinacy, 
or  inattention  of  any  one  of  the  dancers.  It  is  therefore 
useful  to  know  every  way  in  which  a  figure  may  be 
danced,  and  to  take  your  cue  from  the  others.  It  is  amus- 
ing, however,  to  find  how  even  such  a  trifle  as  a  choice  of 
figures  in  a  quadrille  can  help  to  mark  caste,  and  give 
a  handle  for  supercilious  sneers.  Jones,  the  other  day,  was 
protesting  that  the  Browns  were  "  vulgar."  "  Why  so  1  they 
are  well  bred."  "  Yes,  so  they  are."  "  They  are  well-in- 
formed." "  Certainly."  "  They  are  polite,  speak  good  Eng- 
lish, dress  quietly  and  well,  are  graceful  and  even  elegant." 
"  I  grant  you  all  that."  "  Then  what  fault  can  you  find  with 
them."     "  My  dear  fellow,  they  are  people  who  gallop 


THE  VALUE  OF  QUADRILLES. 


207 


round  in  the  last  figure  of  a  quadrille,"  lie  replied  triumphantly. 
But  to  a  certain  extent  Jones  is  right.  Where  a  choice  is 
given,  the  man  of  taste  will  always  select  for  a  quadrille 
(as  it  is  a  conversational  dance)  the  quieter  mode  of  per- 
forming a  figure,  and  so  the  Browns,  if  perfect  in  other 
respects,  at  least  were  wanting  in  taste.  There  is  one  alter- 
ation lately  introduced  from  France,  which  I  sincerely  trust 
will  be  universally  accepted.  The  farce  of  that  degrading 
little  performance  called  "  setting" — where  you  dance  before 
your  partner  somewhat  like  Man  Friday  before  Eobinson 
Crusoe,  and  then  as  if  your  feelings  were  overcome,  seize  her 
hands  and  whirl  her  round — has  been  finally  abolished  by  a 
decree  of  Fashion,  and  thus  more  opportunity  is  given  for 
conversation,  and  in  a  crowded  room  you  have  no  occasion 
to  crush  yourself  and  partner  between  the  couples  on  each 
side  of  you. 

I  do  not  attempt  to  deny  that  the  quadrille,  as  now 
walked,  is  ridiculous  ;  the  figures,  which  might  be  graceful 
if  performed  in  a  lively  manner,  have  entirely  lost  their 
spirit,  and  are  become  a  burlesque  of  dancing  ;  but,  at  the 
same  time,  it  is  a  most  valuable  dance.  Old  and  young, 
stout  and  thin,  good  dancers  and  bad,  lazy  and  active, 
stupid  and  clever,  married  and  single,  can  all  join  in  it, 
and  have  not  only  an 'excuse  and  opportunity  for  tete-ctrtete 
conversation,  which  is  decidedly  the  easiest,  but  find  en- 
couragement in  the  music,  and  in  some  cases  convenient 
breaks  in  the  necessity  of  dancing.  A  person  of  few  ideas 
has  time  to  collect  them  while  the  partner  is  performing, 
and  one  of  many  can  bring  them  out  with  double  effect. 
Lastly,  if  you  wish  to  be  polite  or  friendly  to  an  acquaint- 
ance who  dances  atrociously,  you  can  select  a  quadrille  for 
him  or  her,  as  the  case  may  be.  Intense  patriotism  still 
induces  some  people  to  affirm  that  the  English  country- 
dance  is  far  preferable  to  this  importation  from-  France. 
These  good  creatures  should  inquire  a  little  further.  I 
think  they  would  find  that  the  country-dance  (contre-danse) 
came  from  the  same  source  at  a  somewhat  earlier  date. 


208 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


But,  however  this  may  be,  a  dance  which  tears  rne  so  com- 
pletely away  from  the  partner  I  have  selected,  ought  iD 
nine  cases  out  of  ten  to  be  hateful  to  me. 

Very  different  in  object  and  principle  are  the  so-called 
round  dances,  and  there  are  great  limitations  as  to  those 
who  should  join  in  them.  Here  the  intention  is  to 
enjoy  a  peculiar  physical  movement  under  peculiar  condi- 
tions, and  the  conversation  during  the  intervals  of  rest  is 
only  a  secondary  object.  These  dances  demand  activity  and 
lightness,  and  should  therefore  be,  as  a  rule,  confined  to  the 
young.  An  old  man  sacrifices  all  his  dignity  in  a  polka, 
and  an  old  woman  is  ridiculous  in  a  waltz.  Corpulency, 
too,  is  generally  a  great  impediment,  though  some  stout 
people  prove  to  be  the  lightest  dancers. 

The  morality  of  round  dances  scarcely  comes  within  my 
province.  They  certainly  can  be  made  very  indelicate  ;  so 
can  any  dance,  and  the  French  cancan  proves  that  the 
quadrille  is  no  safer  in  this  respect  than  the  waltz.  But 
it  is  a  gross  insult  to  our  daughters  and  sisters  to  suppose 
them  capable  of  any  but  the  most  innocent  and  purest  en- 
joyment in  the  dance,  while  of  our  young  men  I  will  say, 
that  to  the  pure  all  things  are  pure.  Those  who  see  harm 
in  it  are  those  in  whose  mind  evil  thoughts  must  have 
arisen.  Honi  soit  qui  mal  y  pense.  Those  who  rail  against 
dancing  are  perhaps  not  aware  that  they  do  but  follow  in 
the  steps  of  the  Romish  Church.  In  many  parts  of  the 
Continent,  bishops  who  have  never  danced  in  their  lives,  and 
perhaps  never  even  seen  a  dance,  have  laid  a  ban  of  excom- 
munication on  waltzing.  A  story  was  me  told  in  Normandy 
of  the  worthy  Bishop  of  Bayeux,  one  of  this  number.  A 
priest  of  his  diocese  petitioned  him  to  put  down  round 
dances.  "  I  know  nothing  about  them,"  replied  the  prelate, 
"  I  have  never  even  seen  a  waltz."  Upon  this  the  younger 
ecclesiastic  attempted  to  explain  what  it  was  and  wherein 
the  danger  lay,  but  the  Bishop  could  not  see  it.  "  Will 
Monseigneur  permit  me  to  show  him  1 "  asked  the  priest. 
"  Certainly.    My  chaplain  here  appears  to  understand  the 


THE  WALTZ. 


209 


subject ;  let  me  see  you  two  waltz."  How  the  reverend 
gentlemen  came  to  know  so  much  about  it  does  not  appear, 
but  they  certainly  danced  a  polka,  a  gallop,  and  a  trois- 
temps  waltz.  "  All  these  seem  harmless  enough."  "  Oh  ! 
but  Monseigneur  has  not  seen  the  worst ;"  and  thereupon 
the  two  gentlemen  proceeded  to  flounder  through  a  valse  d, 
deux-temps.  They  must  have  murdered  it  terribly,  for  they 
were  not  half  round  the  room  when  his  Lordship  cried  out, 
"  Enough,  enough,  that  is  atrocious,  and  deserves  excom- 
munication." Accordingly  this  waltz  was  forbidden,  while 
the  other  dances  were  allowed.  I  was  at  a  public  ball  at 
Caen  soon  after  this  occurrence,  and  was  amused  to  find 
the  trois-temps  danced  with  a  peculiar  shuffle,  by  way  of 
compromise  between  conscience  and  pleasure. 

There  are  people  in  this  country  whose  logic  is  as  good 
as  that  of  the  Bishop  of  Bayeux,  but  I  confess  my  inability 
to  understand  it.  If  there  is  impropriety  in  round  dances, 
there  is  the  same  in  all.  But  to  the  waltz,  which  poets 
have  praised  and  preachers  denounced.  The  French,  with 
all  their  love  of  dancing,  waltz  atrociously,  the  English  but 
little  better ;  the  Germans  and  Russians  alone  understand  it- 
I  could  rave  through  three  pages  about  the  innocent  enjoy- 
ment of  a  good  waltz,  its  grace  and  beauty,  but  I  will  be 
practical  instead,  and  give  you  a  few  hints  on  the  subject. 

The  position  is  the  most  important  point.  The  lady  and 
gentleman  before  starting  should  stand  exactly  opposite  to 
one  another,  quite  upright,  and  not,  as  is  so  common  in 
England,  painfully  close  to  one  another.  If  the  man's  hand 
be  placed  where  it  should  be,  at  the  centre  of  the  lady's 
waist,  and  not  all  round  it,  he  will  have  as  firm  a  hold  and 
not  be  obliged  to  stoop,  or  bend  to  his  right.  The  lady's 
head  should  then  be  turned  a  little  towards  her  left  shoulder, 
and  her  partner's  somewhat  less  towards  his  right,  in  order 
to  preserve  the  proper  balance.  Nothing  can  be  more 
atrocious  than  to  see  a  lady  lay  her  head  on  her  partner's 
shoulder ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  she  will  not  dance  well, 
if  she  turns  it  in  the  opposite  direction.  The  lady  again 
2  D 


210 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


should  throw  her  head  and  shoulders  a  little  back,  and  the 
man  lean  a  very  little  forward. 

The  position  having  been  gained,  the  step  is  the  next 
question.  In  Germany  the  rapidity  of  the  waltz  is  very 
great,  but  it  is  rendered  elegant  by  slackening  the  pace  every 
now  and  then,  and  thus  giving  a  crescendo  and  decrescendo 
time  to  the  movement.  The  Russian  men  undertake  to 
perform  in  waltzing  the  same  feat  as  the  Austrians  in  riding, 
and  will  dance  round  the  room  with  a  glass  of  champagne 
in  the  left  hand  without  spilling  a  drop.  This  evenness  in 
waltzing  is  certainly  very  graceful,  but  can  only  be  attained 
by  a  long  sliding  step,  which  is  little  practised  in  England, 
where  the  rooms  are  small,  and  people,  not  understanding 
the  real  pleasure  of  dancing  well,  insist  on  dancing  all  at 
the  same  time.  In  Germany  they  are  so  alive  to  the 
necessity  of  ample  space,  that  in  large  balls  a  rope  is  drawn 
across  the  room  ;  its  two  ends  are  held  by  the  masters  of 
the  ceremonies  pro  tern.,  and  as  one  couple  stops  and  retires, 
another  is  allowed  to  pass  under  the  rope  and  take  its  place. 
But  then  in  Germany  they  dance  for  the  dancing's  sake. 
However  this  may  be,  an  even  motion  is  very  desirable, 
and  all  the  abominations  which  militate  against  it,  such  as 
hop-waltzes,  the  Schottische,  and  ridiculous  Varsovienne,  are 
justly  put  down  in  good  society.  The  pace,  again,  should 
not  be  sufficiently  rapid  to  endanger  other  couples.  It  is 
the  gentleman's  duty  to  steer,  and  in  crowded  rooms  nothing 
is  more  trying.  He  must  keep  his  eyes  open  and  turn 
them  in  every  direction,  if  he  would  not  risk  a  collision, 
and  the  chance  of  a  fall,  or  what  is  as  bad,  the  infliction 
of  a  wound  on  his  partner's  arm.  I  have  seen  a  lady's  arm 
cut  open  in  such  a  collision  by  the  bracelet  on  that  of 
another  lady ;  and  the  sight  is  by  no  means  a  pleasant  one 
in  a  ball-room,  to  say  nothing  of  a  new  dress  covered  in  a 
moment  with  blood. 

The  consequences  of  violent  dancing  may  be  really  se- 
rious. Not  only  do  delicate  girls  bring  on  thereby  a  violent 
palpitation  of  the  heart,  and  their  partners  appear  in  a  most 


FLAT-FOOT  WALTZING. 


211 


disagreeable  condition  of  solution,  but  dangerous  falls  ensue 
from  it.  I  have  known  instances  of  a  lady's  head  being 
laid  open,  and  a  gentleman's  foot  being  broken  in  such  a 
fall,  resulting,  poor  fellow,  in  lameness  for  life.  Nay,  even 
death  hovers  among  the  giddy  waltzers,  and  Victor  Hugo 
has  written  a  beautiful  little  poem  on  girls  who  have  died 
of  dancing,  of  which  one  verse  as  a  moral : 

"  Quels  tristes  lendemains  laisse  le  bal  folatre ! 

Adieu,  parure,  danse  et  rires  enfantins  ! 
Aux  chansons  succedait  le  toux  opiniatre, 
Au  plaisir  rose  et  frais  la  fievre  au  teint  bleuatre, 

Aux  yeux  brillants  les  yeux  eteints." 

Be  careful  of  the  waltz,  be  sparing,  lest  it  prove,  in  this 
land  of  consumption,  to  too  many  the  true  dance  of  death. 
Let  us  not  mingle  cypress  with  our  roses. 

It  is  perhaps  useless  to  recommend  flat-foot  waltzing  in 
this  country,  where  ladies  allow  themselves  to  be  almost 
hugged  by  their  partners,  and  where  men  think  it  necessary 
to  lift  a  lady  almost  off  the  ground,  but  I  am  persuaded 
that  if  it  were  introduced,  the  outcry  against  the  impro- 
priety of  waltzing  would  soon  cease.  Nothing  can  be  more 
delicate  than  the  way  in  which  a  German  holds  his  partner. 
It  is  impossible  to  dance  on  the  flat  foot  unless  the  lady  and 
gentleman  are  quite  free  of  one  another.  His  hand  there- 
fore goes  no  further  round  her  waist  than  to  the  hooks  and 
eyes  of  her  dress,  hers,  no  higher  than  to  his  elbow.  Thus 
danced  the  waltz  is  smooth,  graceful,  and  delicate,  and  we 
could  never  in  Germany  complain  of  our  daughter's  languish- 
ing on  a  young  man's  shoulder.  On  the  other  hand,  no- 
thing is  more  graceless  and  absurd  than  to  see  a  man  waltz- 
ing on  the  tips  of  his  toes,  lifting  his  partner  off  the  ground, 
or  twirling  round  and  round  with  her  like  the  figures  on  a 
street  organ.  The  test  of  waltzing  in  time  is  to  be  able  to 
stamp  the  time  with  the  left  foot.  A  good  flat-foot  waltzer 
can  dance  on  one  foot  as  well  as  on  two,  but  I  would  not 
advise  him  to  try  it  in  public,  lest  like  Mr.  Rarey's  horse  on 


212 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


three  legs,  he  should  come  to  the  ground  in  a  luckless  moment, 
The  legs  should  be  very  little  bent  in  dancing,  the  body  still 
less  so.  I  do  not  know  whether  it  be  worse  to  see  a  man 
sit  down  in  a  waltz,  or  to  find  him  with  his  head  poked 
forward  over  your  young  wife's  shoulder,  hot,  red,  wild,  and 
in  far  too  close  proximity  to  the  partner  of  your  bosom, 
whom  he  makes  literally  the  partner  of  his  own. 

King  Polka  has  been  deposed  after  a  reign  of  nearly 
twenty  years.  I  cannot  refrain  from  throwing  up  my  cap. 
True,  his  rule  was  easy,  and  he  was  popular  on  that  ac- 
count ;  indeed,  he  has  still  his  partisans  in  certain  classes, 
but  not  in  the  best.  For  what  a  graceless,  jogging,  hugging, 
sleepy  old  creature  he  was  !  Then,  too,  he  was  not  even  a 
legitimate  sovereign.  The  good  family  of  the  Polkas  in 
Hungary,  Poland,  &c,  would  not  recognise  this  pretender 
of  England  and  France,  who  is  no  more  like  them  than  that 
other  pretender  Mazurka,  is  like  the  original  spirited,  na- 
tional fling  of  the  same  name.  It  is  curious  to  see  how  our 
D'Egvilles  have  ransacked  Europe  for  national  dances  to  be 
adapted  to  the  drawing-room,  and,  indeed,  there  spoiled. 
The  waltz  is  of  German  origin,  but  where  it  is  still  danced 
in  Germany  in  the  original  manner  (as  for  instance,  among 
the  peasants  of  the  Tyrol),  it  is  a  very  different  dance.  It 
is  there  very  slow  and  graceful ;  the  feet  are  thrown  out 
in  a  single  long  step,  which  Turveydrop,  I  presume,  would 
call  a  jete.  After  a  few  turns,  the  partners  waltz  alone  in 
the  same  step,  the  man  keeping  the  time  by  striking  together 
his  iron-shod  heels,  until  with  a  shout  and  clapping  of  hands 
he  again  clasps  his  partner  and  continues  in  the  same  slow 
measure  with  her.  The  very  names  of  the  dances  bespeak 
their  origin.  The  Sclavonic  nations  must  have  given  us  the 
Polka,  Mazurka,  Redowa,  Gorlitza,  and  Eletezka,  whatever 
that  may  be.  The  Varsovienne  and  Oracovienne  are  all 
that  remain  of  Polish  nationality. 

"  Ye  have  the  Pyrrhic  dance  as  yet, 
Where  is  the  Pyrrhic  phalanx  gone  ?" 


THE  POLKA,  GALOP,  ETC. 


213 


says  Byron  bitterly  to  the  Greeks,  and  some  future  Russian 
agent  may  perhaps  sing  to  the  wearers  of  the  kilt  in  the 
same  strain  : — 

"  Ye  have  the  Highland  reel  as  yet, 
Where  are  your  Highland  chieftains  gone  ?" 

Then  the  Madrilaine  has  been  imported  from  Spain, 
which  retains  the  oriental  Bolero,  Fandango,  and  Cachucha. 
The  last  is  of  purely  Eastern  character,  and  might  be 
danced  by  a  Ndch  girl  before  a  Lucknow  Prince.  The 
Americans  with  more  patriotism  than  ourselves  have  pre- 
served the  only  national  English  dances,  the  hornpipe  and 
jig,  and  have  about  twenty  varieties  of  the  former,  includ- 
ing a  sailor's,  college,  gipsy's,  and  even  bricklayer's  and 
lamplighter's  hornpipe.  These  American  dances  have  names 
no  less  eccentric  than  their  drinks.  We  should  scarcely 
care  to  join  in  the  "  Devil's  Dream,"  for  instance,  and  the 
dance  called  "Jordan  is  a  hard  road"  can  hardly  be  a 
favourite  out  of  Hebrew  circles.  "  Money  Musk  "  was  once 
an  English  dance.  When  there  was  a  quarrel  between  the 
county  people  and  the  rich  tradesmen  at  the  Bath  balls, 
Beau  Nash  had  some  trouble  to  reconcile  them,  but  he  ap- 
propriately sealed  his  success  by  ordering  the  band  to  strike 
up  "Money  Musk."  The  "Lancers"  are  a  revival  after 
many  long  years,  and  perhaps  we  may  soon  have  a  drawing- 
room  adaptation  of  the  Morris-dance. 

The  only  advice  therefore  which  it  is  necessary  to  give  to 
those  who  wish  to  dance  the  polka  may  be  summed  up  in 
two  words,  "  don't."  Not  so  with  the  galop.  The  remarks 
as  to  the  position  in  waltzing  apply  to  all  round  dances,  and 
there  is  therefore  little  to  add  with  regard  to  the  galop,  ex- 
cept that  it  is  a  great  mistake  to  suppose  it  to  be  a  rapid 
dance.  It  should  be  danced  as  slowly  as  possible.  It  will 
then  be  more  graceful  and  less  fatiguing.  It  is  danced 
quite  slowly  in  Germany  and  on  the  flat  foot.  The  polka- 
mazurka  is  still  much  danced,  and  is  certainly  very  grace- 
ful.   The  remarks  on  the  quadrille  apply  equally  to  the 


214 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


lancers,  which  are  great  favourites,  and  threaten  to  take  the 
place  of  the  former.  The  schottische,  hop-waltz,  redowa, 
varsovienne,  cellarius,  and  so  forth,  have  had  their  day,  and 
are  no  longer  danced  in  good  society.  The  only  dance  I  re- 
gret is  the  German  cotillon,  which  was  introduced  a  few 
years  ago,  but  not  approved.  English  people  made  a  romp 
of  it,  and  English  young  ladies,  an  opportunity  for  marked 
flirtation ;  besides  which  English  chaperons,  not  so  patient  as 
the  same  class  on  the  Continent,  would  not  sit  through  it. 
Well  I  remember  the  long  hours  through  which  we  used  to 
keep  it  up  in  Germany,  while  mammas  and  aunts  were 
dozing  behind  their  fans,  and  how  vexed  we  were  when  its 
varied  figures,  invented  often  on  the  spot,  came  to  an  end, 
and  carriages  were  called  for. 

The  calm  ease  which  marks  the  man  of  good  taste,  makes 
even  the  swiftest  dances  graceful  and  agreeable.  Vehemence 
may  be  excused  at  an  election,  but  not  in  a  ball-room.  I 
once  asked  a  beautiful  and  very  clever  young  lady  how  she, 
who  seemed  to  pass  her  life  with  books,  managed  to  dance 
so  well.  "  I  enjoy  it,"  she  replied  ;  "  and  when  I  dance 
I  give  my  whole  mind  to  it."  And  she  was  quite  right. 
Whatever  is  worth  doing  at  all,  is  worth  doing  well ;  and  if 
it  is  not  beneath  your  dignity  to  dance,  it  is  not  unworthy  of 
your  mind  to  give  itself,  for  the  time,  wholly  up  to  it.  You 
will  never  enjoy  dancing  till  you  do  it  well ;  and  if  you  do 
not  enjoy  it,  it  is  folly  to  dance.  But  in  reality  dancing, 
if  it  be  a  mere  trifle,  is  one  to  which  great  minds  have 
not  been  ashamed  to  stoop.  Locke,  for  instance,  has  written 
on  its  utility,  and  speaks  of  it  as  manly,  which  was  certainly 
not  Michal's  opinion,  when  she  looked  out  of  the  window 
and  saw  her  lord  and  master  dancing  and  playing.  Plato 
lecommended  it,  and  Socrates  learned  the  Athenian  polka  of 
the  day,  when  quite  an  old  gentleman,  and  liked  it  very 
much.  Some  one  has  even  gone  the  length  of  calling  it 
"  the  logic  of  the  body  and  Addison  defends  himself  for 
making  it  the  subject  of  a  disquisition.  If  I  say  much  more 
I  shall  have  to  do  the  same  as  Addison,  and  will  therefore 


MUSIC. 


215 


pass  to  some  other  accomplishments  useful,  if  not  necessary, 
in  society. 

On  the  Continent  almost  every  boy  is  taught  to  play  the 
piano.  A  very  false  principle  has,  till  lately,  kept  our  men 
from  all  the  softer  portion  of  life ;  manliness  was  identified 
with  roughness,  and  every  accomplishment  which  was 
suitable  to  a  woman,  was  considered  beneath  the  dignity  of 
a  man.  In  short,  it  is  not  fifty  years  ago  since  to  hunt, 
shoot,  and  drink  your  bottle  of  port,  formed  the  only  ac- 
complishments necessary  for  male  society,  and  refinement 
did  not  extend  beyond  an  elegance  in  bowing,  in  taking 
snuff,  and  in  gallantry  to  the  ladies.  Left  to  themselves, 
men  were  ashamed  to  be  anything  better  than  bears. 
Fortunately  it  is  now  agreed  that  manliness  and  refinement 
are  not  opposed  to  one  another. 

I  believe  that  there  is  a  taste  for  music  in  every  child 
born,  and  that  if  it  disappears  in  after  life,  it  is  for  want  of 
cultivation.  Was  there  ever  yet  a  baby  which  could  not 
be  sung  to  sleep  %  However  this  may  be,  to  play  some  one 
instrument  is  of  more  value  to  a  man  than  at  first  sight 
appears.  To  the  character  it  is  a  refiner.  Music  is  the 
medicine  of  the  soul ;  it  soothes  the  wrinkles  of  a  hard 
life  of  business,  and  lifts  us  from  thoughts  of  money,  in- 
trigue, enterprises,  anxieties,  hatred,  and  what  not,  to  a 
calmer,  more  heavenly  frame  of  mind.  To  a  man  himself, 
therefore,  the  power  to  play  is  of  use.  He  may  not  always 
have  a  sister,  wife,  or  daughter,  to  sing  and  play  to  him  ; 
he  may  not  always  be  within  reach  of  the  opera  and  concert- 
rooms,  and  then,  too,  half  the  enjoyment  of  music  is  gone, 
when  you  cannot  enjoy  it  as  you  list,  and  of  what  kind  you 
need,  gay  or  grave,  as  your  fancy  lies.  It  is  an  indulgence 
to  a  pure  mind,  and  it  is  one  of  those  few  indulgences  which 
are  free  from  harm. 

But  besides  this,  a  knowledge  of  music  is  valuable  to  a 
man  in  the  society  both  of  his  own  and  the  other  sex.  It 
is  a  great  recommendation  among  women,  and  vibrates  on 
a  chord  of  sympathy  between  the  sexes,  when  possibly  there 


216 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


is  no  other.  Still  more  so  where  women  are  not,  and  their 
want  is  felt.  The  man  who  can  play  an  air  is  a  boon  to 
the  camp,  the  college,  or  the  Inn  of  Court.  Well  do  I 
remember  how  popular  Jones  was  for  his  piano,  and  Smith 
for  his  cornet,  at  St.  Boniface's.  Yet  Jones  and  Smith 
were  very  dull  men  in  themselves,  and  kept  very  bad  wine. 
What  did  we  care  1  We  did  not  want  to  drink  with  our 
mouths,  when  we  could  do  so  with  our  ears.  But  if  instru- 
mental music  recommend  a  man,  still  more  the  cultivation 
of  the  natural  musical  instrument.  "  He  can  tell  a  good 
story  and  sing  a  good  song,"  is  almost  the  best  recommend- 
ation one  bachelor  can  give  of  another  in  a  social  point  of 
view,  and  if  you  can  sing  a  good  ballad,  or  take  part  in  a 
duet,  quartett,  chorus,  or  what  not,  you  are  invaluable  in 
an  evening  party. 

There  are,  however,  a  few  points  to  be  attended  to  in 
connexion  with  playing  or  singing  in  public.  In  the  first 
place,  as  to  a  choice  of  instrument.  The  piano  is  always 
acceptable,  but  however  good  a  man's  touch,  it  must  be 
remembered,  it  is  not  so  agreeable  in  a  room  as  a  lady's. 
Every  other  instrument  should  be  accompanied  by  the  piano, 
so  that  unless  you  have  some  fair  friend  ready  to  play 
for  you,  it  will  be  useless  to  take  your  instrument.  But 
under  the  most  fortunate  circumstances,  your  choice  is 
limited.  The  instrument  must  not  be  too  loud  or  too  harsh 
for  the  sensitive  tympanum  of  your  fair  audience.  No  one 
would  volunteer  a  solo  on  the  drum,  perhaps  ;  but  men  who 
play  but  little,  will  sometimes  inflict  the  hauthois  or  cornet- 
ct-pistons  on  their  unhappy  listeners  •  these  two  instruments, 
and  indeed  every  species  of  horn,  can  only  be  tolerated  in  a 
drawing-room  if  extremely  well  played,  and  therefore  modu- 
lated. On  the  other  hand,  if  you  care  for  your  appearance, 
you  will  scarcely  introduce  the  violoncello.  The  fiddle  is 
so  common  that  people  will  not  care  for  it,  unless  played 
with  execution,  and  the  flageolet  is  scarcely  worth  listening 
to.  There  remain  the  flute,  and  the  guitar,  which  is  a  good 
accompaniment  to  the  voice,  but  should  not  be  played  by  a 


217 


stout  or  an  elderly  man.  Concerts  are  so  common  now, 
and  first-rate  performers  so  easily  heard,  that  more  than 
common  proficiency  will  be  expected  from  you  on  any  in- 
strument except  the  piano,  and  you  should  therefore  never 
take  your  instrument  with  you  unless  particularly  requested 
to  do  so  by  the  inviter,  nor  play  more  than  once  unless 
pressed  to  do  so  by  the  lady  of  the  house. 

If  you  have  a  tenor  or  alto  voice,  a  good  ear,  and  a 
knowledge  of  a  few  songs,  you  need  never  be  afraid  of 
singing  in  public.  A  barytone  being  commoner,  requires 
more  excellence  to  back  it,  and  a  bass  should  be  prohibited, 
/  think,  from  solo  exhibitions,  unless  very  good.  But  be 
the  voice  what  it  may,  if  you  cannot  sing  in  tune,  never 
attempt  it.  Others  in  the  company  will  have  better  ears 
than  yourself,  and  politely  execrate  you.  Time  is  not  so 
important,  unless  you  join  a  duet,  trio,  or  chorus.  The 
choice  of  songs  is  quite  as  essential  as  the  choice  of  an  instru- 
ment. A  man  should  not  sing  women's  ditties,  and  should 
never  yawl  out  the  namby-pamby  ballads  beloved  of  young 
ladies.  A  really  honest  love-song,  in  which  the  words  are 
as  good  as  the  music,  becomes  a  tenor  or  barytone  well — 
scarcely  a  basso.  On  the  other  hand,  the  too  ferocious  style 
should  be  avoided.  Comic  songs,  as  a  general  rule,  are  atro- 
cious. Their  want  of  wit  is  not  atoned  for  by  the  presence  of 
slang,  vulgarity,  or  even  coarseness.  They  are  usually  written 
by  men  of  inferior  mind,  often  for  the  stage  or  public  enter- 
tainments, and  are  purposely  broad,  in  order  to  be  under- 
stood by  a  mixed  audience.  On  the  other  hand,  if  you 
have  essentially  a  comic  face  and  manner,  and  can  sing  a 
parody,  or  a  more  refined  comic  song  with'  character,  you 
may  attempt  it  in  small  parties.  In  men's  society,  of  course, 
the  comic  song  is  the  most  popular. 

A  man  singing  before  ladies  must  remember  their  nerves, 
and  modulate  his  voice.  He  must  also  bear  in  mind,  that 
however  well  he  sings,  a  lady's  voice  is  more  suited  to  a 
drawing-room,  and  unless  pressed  to  do  so,  will  content 
himself  with  one  or  at  most  two  songs.  But  a  man  should 
2  E 


218 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


not  allow  himself  to  be  pressed  too  much,  nor  affect  diffi- 
dence like  a  young  miss  of  seventeen.  If  he  has  not  sung 
or  played  before,  he  should  do  so  (if  he  can)  without  hesi- 
tation, and  with  an  amiable  willingness,  being  confident  that 
the  lady  of  the  house  desires  to  amuse  her  guests  rather 
than  to  flatter  him. 

In  general  society,  the  card-table  in  the  present  day  is 
happily  reserved  for  elderly  people,  but  a  young  man  may 
be  sometimes  called  upon  to  make  up  a  rubber,  and  if  so  he 
would  mar  the  pleasure  of  others  if  he  were  not  able  to  take 
a  hand.  At  the  same  time  it  is  generally  understood  that 
ladies  and  young  men  should  not  be  asked  to  do  so,  unless 
absolutely  necessary,  and  if  a  hostess  opens  a  card-table,  she 
should  be  able  beforehand  to  select  a  sufficient  and  suitable 
number  of  players.  It  is  always  trying  to  see  ladies  play. 
It  has  been  observed  that  women  have  only  two  passions, 
love  and  avarice.  The  latter  ill  becomes  them,  and  yet  so 
strong  is  it,  that  they  can  rarely  conceal  it  at  the  card-table. 

Where  a  number  of  guests  are  willing  to  play,  the  selec- 
tion is  made  by  drawing  cards,  and  the  highest  drawers  are 
excluded  from  the  game.  At  whist  the  two  lower  and  two 
higher  drawers  become  partners  respectively ;  the  lowest  has 
the  first  deal.  The  trial  of  temper  then  ensues,  and  if  card- 
playing  has  no  other  virtue,  it  may  be  commended  as  a 
test  of  temper  and  good-breeding.  Lose  without  a  murmur, 
win  without  triumph.  Never  insist  too  sharply  on  fines, 
and  be  ready  to  pay  on  the  spot.  If  unable  to  do  this,  you 
should  pay  the  next  morning  at  the  latest.  It  is  always 
allowable  to  man  or  lady  to  say,  "  I  do  not  play,"  and  the 
words  are  understood  to  mean,  that  though  able,  you  prefer 
not  to  do  so.  If  a  bad  player,  you  will  do  well  to  keep 
away  from  the  table  ;  you  have  a  partner's  interest  to  con- 
sult as  well  as  your  own.  As  a  general  rule  in  good  society, 
it  should  be  understood  that  one  does  not  play  for  money, 
but  with  money.  The  skill  rather  than  the  result  of  the 
game  must  be  the  point  of  interest. 

In  round  games,  which  are  patronized  by  people  who 


MODERN  LANGUAGES. 


219 


have  not  the  accomplishments  to  supply  their  place,  or 
the  wit  to  do  without  them,  the  main  fault  to  be  avoided 
is  eagerness.  Of  single  games,  you  should  know  as  many 
as  possible.  The  finest  of  them  is  chess,  which  is  worthy 
of  any  man,  and  a  splendid  mental  exercise.  Without 
aspiring  to  be  a  Morphy  or  a  Staunton,  you  may  by  practice 
and  thought  become  an  excellent  chess-player ;  but  the  game 
is  not  a  social  one,  and  requires  too  much  abstraction  to  be 
introduced  in  social  gatherings. 

Perhaps  the  most  useful  accomplishment  to  one's-self 
is  a  knowledge  of  languages.  Independent  of  the  great 
superiority  it  gives  you  in  travel,  and  the  wide  field  of 
literature  to  which  it  introduces  you,  you  are  liable  in  really 
good  society,  especially  in  high  London  circles,  to  meet  with 
foreigners  having  a  very  slight  acquaintance  with  English. 
From  them  you  may  derive  a  vast  amount  of  information, 
turn  the  slow  current  of  your  associations,  and  even  be 
amused  more  than  by  any  conversation  with  your  own 
countrymen.  The  most  patriotic  John  Bull  now  admits 
that  foreigners  understand  better  than  ourselves  the  art  of 
conversation,  and  though  we  may  accuse  them  of  frivolity 
among  themselves,  we  must  remember  that  in  English 
society  their  first  desire  is  to  make  themselves  really  appre- 
ciated. As  a  rule,  too,  they  are  more  interested  than  we 
are  in  current  history,  and,  whatever  their  prejudices  or 
their  ignorance;  you  will  rarely  meet  with  a  Frenchman, 
Italian,  or  German,  from  whom  you  may  not  gather  much 
curious  information  which  will  serve  you  elsewhere.  An 
untravelled  man  is  always  at  some  disadvantage  in  good 
English  society,  where  almost  every  one  but  himself  will 
have  crossed  the  channel,  but  if  he  has  a  good  knowledge 
of  continental  language  and  literature,  this  disadvantage  is 
materially  diminished. 

An  accomplishment  much  overlooked  as  an  accomplish- 
ment, but  one  indispensable  to  good  society,  is  to  be  able 
to  talk  on  current  literature  and  passing  affairs.  Every 
gentleman  in  the  present  day  should  subscribe  to  a  circu- 


220 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


lating  library,  and  take  in  a  London  newspaper.  Besides 
taking  in  the  latter,  he  should  read  it  with  judgment.  He 
should  he  able  to  form  and  give  an  opinion  independent  of 
party  prejudice  on  any  question  of  common  interest.  What- 
ever his  views,  he  should  be  able  as  a  man  of  sense,  and 
in  order  to  be  agreeable,  to  look  on  them  independently, 
to  support  them  reasonably,  or  abandon  them  gracefully. 
Politics,  and  even  religion,  can,  I  rejoice  to  say,  be  dis- 
cussed in  the  present  day  without  inflammation  and  acer- 
bity, and,  though  the  latter  subject  is  better  avoided  in 
mixed  circles,  a  thorough  gentleman  will  be  able  to  bow  to 
another's  opinion,  and  to  put  forward  his  own  delicately 
and  sensibly. 

There  is  one  more  accomplishment  which  is,  fortunately, 
fast  falling  into  disuse.  The  days  are  done  when  an 
awkward  servant  could  anoint  your  head  and  best  coat  with 
a  whole  dishful  of  gravy,  or  an  unskilled  gentleman  might 
be  forced  to  bow  to  the  lady  on  his  right,  with  :  "Madam, 
I'll  trouble  you  for  that  goose  in  your  lap."  Bad  carving 
used  to  spoil  three  good  things  on  the  part  of  the  carver, 
good  joints,  good  temper,  and  a  good  digestion.  Even  good 
carving  marred  conversation,  and  to  short  men  it  was  a 
positive  infliction,  for  I  need  scarcely  say,  that  under  no 
circumstances  whatever  could  a  man  be  permitted  to  stand 
up  to  carve.  But  because  the  carving  of  joints,  game,  &c, 
at  a  side-table,  is  a  foreign  custom  lately  introduced  into 
this  country,  there  are  people  still  found  patriotic  enough 
to  prefer  carving  at  the  dinner-table.  "  I  like  the  good  old 
English  custom,"  says  one  •  "I  like  to  see  a  host  dispensing 
his  hospitality  himself;"  and  in  the  country,  where  some 
hosts  prefer  meat  to  manners,  it  is  still  retained.  But  I 
may  ask  whether  hospitality  consists  more  in  severing  the 
wings  from  a  chicken's  body,  than  in  setting  all  your  guests 
at  their  ease,  and  at  once  leading  off  the  conversation. 
Does  it  demand  a  distribution  of  good  morsels  rather  than 
of  good  will  ?  The  advocates  of  the  "  good  old  custom " 
may  be  reminded  again,  that  in  former  days  it  was  the 


CAEVING. 


221 


hostess,  not  the  host,  who  dispensed  the  viands,  her  husband 
being  occupied  with  a  distribution  of  the  wine,  which  is  the 
reason  why  the  lady  sat  at  the  head  of  the  table ;  but  what 
is  the  value  of  an  old  custom  universally  disregarded,  since 
no  longer  the  hostess,  but  the  guest  who  has  the  misfortune 
to  take  her  in  to  dinner,  is  called  upon  to  play  the  part  of 
butcher  1  Can  it  be  any  more  satisfactory  to  me  to  have 
my  mutton  sliced  by  a  guest  than  by  the  butler  in  my  host's 
service  ] 

Another  argument  maliciously  advanced,  is  contained  in 
the  sneer  :  "  No,  no,  thank  you,  I  like  to  see  my  dinner, 
and  know  what  I  am  eating."  But  what  a  slur*hpon  the 
hospitality  of  your  host,  to  suppose  that  he  would  give  you 
a  cat  for  a  hare,  or  a  puppy  for  a  rabbit  !  We  might  as 
well  insist  that  he  should  sup  our  port  before  we  drink  it, 
lest  there  should  be  poison  in  the  cup — a  custom,  by  the 
way,  still  retained  in  Bavaria,  where  the  Tcellnerinn,  or 
waitress,  who  brings  you  your  quart  of  beer,  invariably  puts 
it  to  her  mouth  before  she  hands  it  to  you.  But  there  is  a 
reason  for  that,  since  many  a  soldier  in  the  Thirty  Years' 
War  was  poisoned  at  a  beer-garden. 

Carving  is,  however,  still  common  at  small  parties  and 
family  dinners,  and  it  will  be  a  happy  time  when  it  is 
abandoned  even  there.  I  have  seen  many  an  unfortunate 
young  man  put  to  confusion  when  deputed  to  carve,  by  the 
anxious  looks  of  the  host  or  hostess,  and  have  even  heard 
such  atrociously  rude  remarks  as,  "  Thomas,  bring  that  fowl 
to  me ;  Mr.  Jones  seems  not  to  understand  it ; "  nay,  I 
have  seen  people  lose  their  temper  so  completely  at  having 
their  pet  dishes  hacked  by  the  unskilful,  as  to  produce  an 
awkward  silence  through  the  whole  company.  Then  too, 
in  family  circles,  more  quarrels  are  to  be  traced  to  a  blunt 
knife  or  a  difficult  dish,  than  even  to  milliners'  bills,  and  I 
stayed  for  a  short  time  in  one  house,  whose  master  at  last 
got  into  a  habit  of  losing  his  temper  over  the  joint,  which 
he  carved  very  ill  at  all  times,  and  where,  in  consequence, 
dinner  was  more  dreaded  than  the  pillory.    Indeed,  as  great 


222 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


results  may  often  be  traced  to  the  most  trifling  causes, 
I  am  convinced  that  half  the  domestic  tyranny  of  the 
British  paterfamilias,  and  much  of  the  bickering  and  irrita- 
tion which  deprive  home  of  its  charms,  may  be  traced  to  no 
greater  a  cause  than  the  cutting  up  of  a.  joint.  .. .  The  larger 
the  family,  the  greater  the  misery  of  the  carver,  who  has 
scarcely  helped  them  all  round,  before  the  first  receiver  has 
done  and  is  ready  for  a  second  helping.  When  at  last  the 
hungry  father  or  elder  brother  can  secure  a  mouthful,  he 
must  hurry  over  it,  at  the  risk  of  dyspepsia,  in  order  not  to 
keep  the  others  waiting. 

But  w^l  are  a  nation  of  conservatives,  and  a  custom  which 
descended  from  the  days  when  a  knight  would  stick  his 
dagger  into  a  leg  of  mutton,  which  he  held  by  the  knuckle- 
bone (hence  the  frill  of  white  paper  still  stuck  round  it, 
to  slop  in  the  gravy  and  look  disgusting  before  the  joint  is 
removed),  and  carve  him  a  good  thick  slice  without  more 
ceremony,  will  not  soon  be  got  rid  of,  however  great  a 
nuisance.  It  is  therefore  necessary,  if  you  would  avoid 
irritation,  black  looks,  and  even  rude  speeches,  to  know  how 
to  carve  at  a  friend's  table,  whatever  you  may  do  at  your 
own.  When  thus  situated,  the  following  hints  will  be 
found  useful. 

HINTS  ON  CARVING  AND  HELPING. 

1.  Soup  is  helped  with  a  ladle.  Take  care  that  the 
servant  holds  the  plate  close  to  the  tureen,  and  distribute 
one  ladleful  to  each  person.  - 

2.  Fish  is  cut  with  a  large  flat  silver  knife  or  fish-slice, 
never  with  a  common  one.  Of  small  fish,  you  send  one  to 
eack  person.  All  the  larger  flat  fish,  such  as  turbot,  John 
Dorey,  brills,  &c,  must  be  first  cut  from  head  to  tail  down 
the  middle,  and  then  in  portions  from  this  cut  to  the  fin, 
which  being  considered  the  best  part,  is  helped  with  the 
rest.  Fried  soles,  on  the  other  hand,  are  simply  cut  across, 
dividing  the  bone.    The  shoulder  is  the  best  part,  and 


HINTS  ON  CARVING, 


223 


should  be  first  helped.  Salmon,  being  laid  on  the  side,  is 
cut  down  the  middle  of  the  upper  side,  and  then  across 
from  the  back  to  the  belly.  A  boiled  mackerel  serves  for 
four  people.  The  fish-knife  is  passed  from  tail  to  head 
under  the  upper  side,  which  is  then  divided  into  two.  Cod 
is  cut  crossways,  and  a  small  piece  of  the  sound  sent  with 
each  helping. 

3.  Joints  are  helped  with  a  steel  fork,  of  which,  if  you 
value  your  fingers,  you  will  take  care  that  the  guard  is 
raised,  and  a  carving  knife,  which  for  the  sake  of  your 
neighbour's  teeth,  if  you  do  not  care  for  your  own,  you 
will  never  yourself  sharpen.  Let  us  premise  that  the 
butcher  and  cook  must  assist  the  carver,  and  that  an  ill-cut 
or  ill-jointed  joint  augments  terribly  the  torture  of  the 
dispenser.  It  must  also  be  premised  that  there  are  more 
ways  than  one  of  cutting  the  same  joint,  that  sometimes 
one,  sometimes  another  is  preferred,  and  that  one  way  will 
often  be  the  more  economical,  another  the  more  elegant. 
Happy  age  when  the  butler  shall  have  the  responsibility  of 
pleasing  both  the  master  and  mistress  of  the  house,  who 
invariably  differ  when  there  is  an  alternative  ! 

The  roast  beef  of  Old  England,  on  which  our  glory  is 
said  to  fatten  and  our  pluck  to  thrive,  appears  on  well-kept 
tables  in  two  forms  only.  The  sirloin  has  an  upper  and 
an  under  cut,  about  which  tastes  differ.  It  is  therefore 
usual  to  begin  with  the  upper  or  thicker  side.  The  joint 
must  lie  with  its  chine-bone  towards  the  left,  and  its  flap 
to  the  right  of  the  carver.  It  must  be  held  steady  by 
inserting  the  fork  near  the  flat-bone.  (It  may  here  be 
remarked,  that  in  all  carving  the  fork  should  never  be  left 
sticking  in  the  meat,  but  withdrawn  with  the  knife ;  nor 
should  it  ever  be  stuck  in  perpendicularly  and  grasped  with 
the  whole  hand.)  One  long  deep  cut  must  then  be  made 
across  the  joint  close  to  the  chine-bone.  The  outside  is 
next  sliced  off  from  the  chine-bone  to  the  flap,  and  you 
then  proceed  to  cut  the  meat  in  very  thin  slices  in  the 
same  direction.    A  slice  of  the  fat  on  the  flap  must  be 


224 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


given  with  each  helping.  If  the  under  cut  is  asked  for, 
you  must  carefully  turn  the  joint  so  as  not  to  splash  the 
gravy — another  of  the  fearful  responsibilities  of  carving — 
and  then  cut  the  meat  across  in  thick  slices.  A  round  of 
beef  is  easily  carved  till  you  come  to  the  skewers,  and 
then  agony  commences  ;  and  what  with  the  impossibility  of 
drawing  them  out  with  the  hand,  the  difficulty  of  doing  so 
with  the  fork,  and  the  quivering  looseness  of  the  joint 
when  the  arrow  is  at  last  extracted  from  its  wretched  flesh, 
a  round  with  a  round  of  beef  is  a  more  trying  combat,  then 
successive  rounds  with  the  cook  who  skewered,  the  butler 
who  served,  and  the  host  who  compelled  you  to  carve  it. 
However  let  us  hope  for  the  best ;  there  is  good  in  all, 
even  skewers  ;  and  let  us,  inserting  our  fork  firmly  into  the 
enemy's  side,  cut  his  brown  top  off  with  a  horizontal  slice 
of  our  long  sharp  steel,  the  longer  and  sharper  the  better 
for  this  joint,  and  proceed  to  torture  him  by  making  a 
succession  of  very  thin  slices,  of  which  one  is  enough  for 
any  guest,  except  an  alderman. 

Boiled  beef  is  more  favoured  at  dining-houses  in  the 
City  than  at  company-dinners  at  the  West  End.  The  side 
is  cut  in  very  thin  slices,  which  should  be  as  broad  and  as 
long  as  the  joint  itself,  if  you  can  cut  them  so. 

Mutton  appears  generally  in  three  forms.  The  saddle  is 
the  best  joint,  and  is  best  cut  in  very  thin  slices  close  to 
the  back-bone  ;  or  you  may  slice  it  horizontally  from  the 
tail  to  the  other  end  ;  or  again  slanting  from  the  back-bone 
towards  the  fat,  so  that  each  slice  shall  carry  its  own  end  of 
fat.  A  shoulder  of  mutton  must  lie  with  the  knuckle 
towards  your  right,  and  the  blade-bone  towards  your  left. 
In  the  middle  of  the  edge  of  the  part  farthest  from  you 
place  the  fork,  and  there  give  one  sharp  dexterous  cut  from 
the  edge  to  the  bone.  The  meat  then  flies  open,  and  you 
proceed  to  cut  rather  thick  slices  on  each  side  of  the  open- 
ing till  you  can  cut  no  more.  You  may  then  cut  three  or 
four  slices  from  the  centre-bone  to  the  end,  and  if  there  are 
more  mouths  to  be  filled,  of  which  your  own,  of  course, 


HINTS  ON  CAHVING. 


225 


will  *>e  one,  you  must  turn  the  joint  over  and  slice  the 
under  side.  This  same  shoulder  of  mutton  is  a  disgrace  to 
a  sheep,  for  do  what  you  will,  you  can  never  get  enough  off 
it.  Much  more  satisfactory  is  the  animal's  leg.  In  the 
bosom  of  your  own  family,  when  funds  are  low  and 
butcher's  bills  high,  the  best  plan  is  to  begin  at  the 
knuckle,  cutting  across  in  thick  slices,  and  so  on  to  the 
top.  But  if  your  wife  puts  up  with  a  knuckle  slice,  your 
guests  will  not,  and  in  company  you  must  therefore  begin 
in  the  middle.  The  knuckle  should  point  towards  your 
left.  You  then  cut  from  the  side  farther  from  you  towards 
yourself,  thus  opening  the  joint  in  the  middle,  and  proceed 
to  take  thin  slices  on  the  right,  which  some  people  prefer, 
and  thick  slices  towards  the  knuckle.  The  little  tuft  of 
fat  near  the  thick  end  is  a  delicacy,  and  must  be  distributed 
as  such. 

The  lamb,  disturbed  in  its  gambols,  furnishes  our  ruth- 
less appetites  with  two  quarters  (a  fore  and  a  hind),  a 
saddle,  which  is  carved  like  a  saddle  of  its  elder  relative, 
mutton,  and  a  loin  which  must  be  divided  into  chops.  The 
fore  quarter  consists  of  a  shoulder,  a  breast,  and  the  ribs, 
which  are  served  without  separation,  and  the  carver  has 
therefore  the  pleasure  of  turning  butcher  for  the  time. 
This  he  does  by  placing  the  knife  under  the  shoulder, 
drawing  it  horizontally,  and  so  removing  the  shoulder 
altogether.  This  limb  is  generally  placed  on  a  separate 
dish,  and  carved  like  a  shoulder  of  mutton.  You  have 
then  to  cut  off  the  breast,  and  finally  separate  the  ribs. 
The  hind-quarter  consists  of  a  leg  and  a  loin,  the  former 
being  cut  across,  the  latter  lengthways. 

Veal  gives  us  a  head,  breast,  and  fillet.  If  the  first  of 
these  appears  in  its  normal  form,  not  having  been  boned 
and  rolled,  you  must  cut  it  down  the  centre  in  rather  thin 
slices  on  each  side.  The  meat  round  the  eye,  a  delicacy, 
may  be  scooped  out.  A  small  piece  of  the  palate  and  the 
"  accompanying  sweetbread  must  be  sent  on  each  plate.  A 
fillet  of  veal  is  simply  cut  in  slices,  which  must  not  be  too 

2  F 


226 


A  CC0MPL1SHMENTS. 


thin  ;  and  the  stuffing  in  the  centre  should  be  helped  with  a 
spoon.  In  a  breast  of  veal  the  ribs  should  be  first  separated 
from  the  brisket,  after  which  either  or  both  maybe  sent  round. 

Roast  pork  is  not  often  seen  on  good  tables.  When  it 
appears  it  is  as  easy  to  carve  as  a  leg  of  mutton,  but  the 
slices  should  be  thicker  and  not  so  large.  Two  very  small 
slices  are  enough  for  an  epicure  ;  let  those  who  like  it  eat 
more.  The  best  part  of  roast  pork  is  the  crackling,  if  it 
has  been  roasted  with  buttered  paper  over  it.  Boiled  pork, 
like  boiled  mutton,  is  only  to  be  tolerated  for  the  sake  of 
its  proper  accompaniments,  but  the  taste  for  pease-pudding, 
unlike  that  for  caper-sauce,  can  only  be  acquired  by  a  long 
residence  in  this  country.  Both  these  joints  are  carved 
like  a  roasted  leg  of  mutton.  The  waiter  at  a  hotel,  who, 
when  a  Hebrew  gentleman  ordered  "  pork-chops,"  con- 
siderately  and  delicately  returned  with  poached  eggs,  was 
a  man  of  taste  as  well  as  of  breeding,  and  knew  that  it 
takes  much  to  make  pork  palatable.  Not  so,  however, 
with  ham  and  bacon,  which  are  meats  to  warm  the  cockles 
of  the  heart,  even  of  a  Pharisee  of  the  Pharisees,  and  while 
to  enjoy  the  former  one  would  always  be  rich,  one  could  be 
content  to  be  poor  for  the  sake  of  the  latter.  Alas  ! 
because  bacon  is  a  poor  man's  luxury,  the  rich,  or  their 
vulgar  cooks,  will  never  admit  it,  or  very  rarely.  It  must 
be  cut  as  thin  as  a  lady's  veil,  and  in  delicate  long  strips 
rather  than  slices.  A  ham  may  be  cut  in  three  ways,  by 
beginning  either  at  the  knuckle,  which  must  be  turned 
towards  your  left,  and  slicing  in  a  slanting  direction ;  or 
at  the  thick  end,  which  is  then  turned  to  your  left ;  or,  in 
the  commonest  manner,  like  a  leg  of  mutton,  across  the 
centre.  In  any  case  it  must  be  cut  in  very  thin,  delicate 
slices,  such  as  the  waiters  of  now  defunct  Vauxhall  won 
their  fame  for,  and  such  as,  to  this  day,  few  people  but 
the  owner  of  a  London  cook-shop  can  achieve.  One  small 
slice  is  enough  as  an  accompaniment  to  a  helping  of  fowl 
or  veal. 

Last  of  the  joints  comes  their  best,  the  haunch  of  Venison* 


HINTS  ON  CARVING. 


227 


To  carve  this  the  knuckle  should  be  turned  towards  your 
right  hand,  and  above  it  a  rapid  cross  cut  made.  A  cut 
lengthways  from  the  other  end  to  the  cross  cut,  should  divide 
the  meat  about  the  middle,  and  slices  of  moderate  thickness 
are  then  to  be  taken  on  each  side  of  the  long  cut ;  those 
on  the  left  are  the  best,  having  the  most  fat  about  them. 

You  are  now  wishing  that  edible  animals  grew  like  pil- 
lows, to  be  sliced  up  like  roly-poly  puddings,  and  would 
dispense  for  ever  with  the  inconvenience  of  limbs,  legs, 
shoulders,  saddles,  haunches,  loins,  sirloins,  breasts,  ribs, 
fore-quarters  and  hind-quarters.  But  you  cannot  have  every- 
thing. If  meat  grew  on  trees  it  would  not  be  worth  eat- 
ing ;  it  is  the  exercise  of  the  animal  which  makes  it  tender 
and  savoury ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the  best  meat  is 
generally  that  nearest  to  the  bone.  The  only  riddle  which 
Sir  Edward  Lytton  was  ever  guilty  of  perpetrating  was 
this  :  "  Why  is  a  cat's  taste  better  than  a  dog's  1  Because 
the  dog's  is  bon  (bone),  but  the  cat's  is  mieux  (mew)." 
With  all  deference  to  Sir  Edward,  I  must  give  my  opinion 
that  the  dog  has  the  best  taste  of  all  animals,  which  he 
displays  in  his  preference  for  bones,  well  knowing  that  the 
meat  nearest  to  them  is  always  the  most  savoury. 

However  this  may  be,  you  have  not  done  yet ;  indeed, 
you  have  the  worst  to  come,  and  there  is  fresh  torture  for 
the  carver  in — 

4.  Animals  served  whole.  You  may  perhaps  master  a 
Rabbit,  because  he  may  be  treated  like  Damien,  who  was 
broken  on  the  wheel,  by  removing  the  legs  and  shoulders 
with  a  sharp-pointed  knife,  and  then  breaking  his  back  in 
three  or  four  pieces  by  pressing  the  knife  across  it  and  push- 
ing the  body  up  against  it  with  the  fork ;  but  when  you  come 
to  that  long,  thin,  dark,  and  scraggy  animal,  which  with 
its  crisp  delicate  ears  sticking  up,  and  the  large  sockets 
where  its  eyes  once  were,  looks  like  roasted  bottle-imp, 
rather  than  roasted  Hare,  what  are  you  to  do,  unless  the 
cook  has  been  skilful  enough  to  bone  it  for  you  ]  You  must 
first  take  care  that  your  knife  has  a  sharp  strong  point  to 


228 


ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


it,  and  therewith,  having  the  head  of  the  hare  towards  your 
left,  you  will  cut  off  the  legs, — to  wit,  the  hind  legs,  for 
carving  and  natural  history  differ  in  this  matter,  the  latter 
asserting  that  the  hare  is  a  quadruped,  the  former  that  it 
has  only  two  legs,  and  two  "  wings."  You  will  then  cut  two 
long  thin  slices  off  each  side  of  the  back ;  then  take  off  the 
"  wings"  or  shoulders  ;  then  break  the  back  into  four  pieces 
with  the  aid  of  the  fork ;  then  cut  off  the  ears,  and  lastly, 
turning  the  head  towards  you  with  the  under  side  upper- 
most, insert  the  point  of  the  knife  exactly  in  the  centre  of 
the  palate,  and  drawing  it  to  the  nose,  thus  divide  it  into 
two  parts.  If  you  do  all  this  without  splashing  the  gravy, 
you  may  take  your  degree  in  carving.  But  to  help  a  hare 
is  more  diplomatic  still  than  to  carve  it.  The  difficulty  is 
to  find  enough  for  everybody  who  wants  it.  The  best  parts 
are  the  slices  from  the  back,  the  head  and  ears.  Never, 
however,  send  head  or  ears  to  a  lady.  There  is  a  good  reason 
for  this,  which  I  won't  tell  you.  But  if  there  is  a  minister 
in  office  at  table,  and  you  want  to  ask  him  for  a  place,  or 
there  is  a  father  whose  daughter's  hand  you  aspire  to,  or  an 
uncle  who  may  possibly  leave  you  a  legacy,  it  is  for  him 
that  you  reserve  half  the  face,  and  one  if  not  both  ears.  If 
he  be  at  all  a  gourmet,  you  will  get  his  ear  by  sending  him 
puss's,  and  the  delicate  brain  of  the  animal  will  fully  com- 
pensate for  a  want  of  it  in  your  own  head. 

A  fowl,  if  not  in  its  premiere  jeunesse,  is  more  irritating 
still  than  a  hare,  because  you  feel  that  when  you  have  done 
your  best,  the  flesh  is  not  worth  eating,  except  at  supper. 
There  are  two  ways  of  beginning.  Either  take  the  leg, 
wing,  and  part  of  breast  off  with  one  cut,  after  having  laid 
the  bird  on  its  side  ;  or,  allowing  it  to  remain  on  its  back, 
with  the  breast  and  wings  towards  you,  and  the  legs  away 
from  you,  insert  the  knife  in  the  side  of  the  breast  above  the 
leg,  and  bring  it  down  to  the  joint  of  the  wing,  which  is 
thus  removed  with  a  slice  of  the  breast.  The  liver  wing, 
which  lies  to  your  right,  is  the  best,  and  should  be  taken  off 
first.    This  done,  insert  the  knife  just  at  the  turn  of  the 


HINTS  ON  CARVING. 


229 


breast,  bring  it  down,  and  you  have  the  merry-thought. 
The  meat  of  the  breast  is  then  easily  sliced  off,  the  legs 
having  been  turned  back  with  the  fork.  The  side-bones 
come  off  next,  in  a  moment,  if  you  insert  the  knife  or  fork 
in  the  right  place,  viz.,  under  the  angular  joint,  and  turn 
them  out.  The  back  is  then  broken  by  lifting  it  with  the 
fork  against  the  pressure  of  the  knife,  and  lastly,  the  sides 
are  removed.  The  wing,  breast,  and  merry-thought  are  the 
best  pieces  ;  the  legs  and  sides  are  insulting.  The  great 
point  in  carving  a  fowl  is  to  do  it  quickly,  and  with  the 
fork  as  much,  if  not  more  than,  the  knife. 

A  partridge  is  carved  like  a  fowl,  but  the  legs  being 
joined,  are  simply  turned  back  with  the  knife  before  the 
operation  commences.  A  pheasant  is  carved  like  a  fowl. 
Pigeons  are  not  carved  at  all,  but  cut  in  two  down  the 
middle  ;  the  eater  kindly  saving  the  carver  any  further 
trouble.  Snipe  is  treated  in  the  same  way,  and  smaller 
birds  are  always  sent  round  one  to  each  person. 

Of  a  goose  or  a  turkey  we  are  told  it  is  "  vulgar"  to  cut 
more  than  the  breast,  but  there  can  be  no  vulgarity  in 
making  a  good  dinner,  and  in  the  family  circle  you  will  be 
obliged  to  apply  to  the  wings  and  legs.  However,  for  com- 
pany, slices  of  the  breast  suffice.  The  same  thing  is  said  of 
the  wild-duck,  that  best  of  birds  ;  but  we  did  not  think  so 
at  Oxford,  where  we  never  left  anything  more  than  their 
carcases.  The  most  productive  bird  is  the  Scotch  and  Swe- 
dish capercailzie.  I  have  known  one  satisfy  fourteen  large 
appetites  one  day,  three  heavy  eaters  the  second,  and  what 
with  hashing,  grilling,  devilling,  and  picking,  last  the  original 
purchaser  a  whole  week  for  breakfast  afterwards.  It  might 
perhaps  be  "  vulgar"  to  carve  such  a  bird  as  that ;  little 
less  so  than  offering  a  lady  a  leg  of  ostrich. 


CHAPTER  VL 


FEMININE  ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 

An  English  lady  without  her  piano,  or  her  pencil,  or  her 
fancy  work,  or  her  favourite  French  authors  and  German 
poets,  is  an  object  of  wonder,  and  perhaps  of  pity.  Music, 
the  cultivation  of  which  was,  at  one  time,  severely  censured 
as  being  carried  to  excess,  has  now  become  a  national  want. 
Painting,  and  even  modelling,  are  not  only  pursued  in  the 
quiet  of  home,  they  furnish  subjects  for  an  amateur  exhibi- 
tion. ]STo  woman  can  be  wholly  fitted  as  a  member  of 
society,  unless  she  can  dance  well ;  and  to  work  neatly  and 
skilfully  at  fancy  work,  is  one  of  the  attributes  of  good 
female  society. 

We  are  not,  we  English,  a  nation  of  talkers  ;  naturally, 
our  talent  is  for  silence.  The  few  who  distinguished  them- 
selves in  conversational  powers  have  died  out  among  us,  and 
their  places  will  never,  we  have  every  reason  to  believe,  be 
filled  up. 

"  The  seat  is  vacant — whereon  Conversation 
Sharpe  gave  forth  such  studied  bon-mots" 

or  culled  from  the  treasures  of  his  vast  memory  the  tit-bits 
of  old  authors.  Lady  Morgan,  who,  as  she  "  circulated" 
through  a  party,  to  use  her  own  expression,  delighted  both 
wise  and  simple,  by  her  ever  ready  flow  of  words,  and  rich- 
ness of  anecdote  and  repartee,  is  gone,  and  her  throne  is 
vacant. 

The  salon,  which  she  collected  around  her,  was,  in  its 
230 


MUSIC. 


231 


capacity  of  passing  hours  in  talking,  more  French  than  Eng- 
lish ;  she  its  centre.  We  shall  neTer  see  the  like  again ; 
the  world  is  too  large,  and  we  are  too  rich.  Eloquence, 
even,  went  out  with  metal  buttons  and  white  waistcoats  :  the 
House  of  Commons  is  only  bored  by  it  now  ;  the  Lords  are 
proud  and  thankful  to  say  they  never  encouraged  it.  Elo- 
quence, which  is  to  conversation  what  the  garden  flower  is  to 
the  wild  flower,  the  hot-house  grape  to  the  poor  sour  thing 
that  grows  on  the  cottage  walls, — eloquence,  which  is  but 
condensed  conversation,  with  all  the  essence  of  many  minds 
in  one,  is  regarded  in  these  practical  days  only  as  an  inter- 
ruption. 

It  therefore  becomes  more  and  more  essential  that  there 
should  be  some  talent  to  supply  the  want  of  good  conversa- 
tion.   And,  for  that  end,  there  is  nothing  like  music. 

Music  is,  I  repeat,  the  substitute,  and  the  only  one,  for 
conversational  powers.  It  has  its  merits  in  that  light. 
Conversation  sometimes  aggravates  temper :  music  soothes  it. 
Conversation  challenges  reply :  music  gives  no  answers.  Con- 
versation is  the  rock  of  peril  to  the  impudent  :  they  can 
scarcely,  in  playing  or  singing,  commit  an  indiscretion.  In 
talking,  again,  one  may  lose  a  friend,  or  even  make  an  enemy. 
Music  is,  therefore,  an  excellent  source  of  amusement  for 
many  occasions,  and  is  become  almost  indispensable  to  those 
who  have  frequently  parties  to  receive.  A  lively  waltz,  or 
a  soft  movement,  carefully  played,  even  without  that  great 
execution  which  compels  listening,  are  often  aids  to  con- 
versation :  it  flows  the  more  easily  from  that  slight  and 
agreeable  interruption.  It  has,  indeed,  still  greater  advan- 
tages :  this  world  of  ours  has  its  work  and  its  troubles  ;  a 
parent  or  husband  may  leave  home  from  either  or  from 
both,  to  find  a  solace  in  music,  which  changes  the  current 
of  his  ideas.  A  brother  may  be  almost  made  domestic  by 
the  cheerful  notes,  which  he  finds  pass  the  evening  almost 
as  rapidly  as  the  club,  or  Jullien's,  or  the  theatre.  Few 
persons  are  wholly  devoid  of  a  capacity  for  enjoying  music^ 
and  even,  if  not  gifted  with  any  great  natural  taste,  a  love 


232 


FEMININE  ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


of  the  art  may  almost  bp  engrafted  on  the  nature  by  early 
associations.  And  those  associations,  too,  have  their  value. 
The  air  that  brings  back  home-born  thoughts,  brings  back 
in  some  degree  the  absent,  the  kind,  the  forbearing,  the 
loving,  the  honoured. 

The  piano  still  keeps  its  pre-eminence  as  the  instrument 
best  fitted  for  society.  The  harp,  it  is  to  be  regretted,  has 
for  some  years  ceased  to  be  fashionable ;  perhaps  the  greater 
attention,  in  modern  times,  to  physical  education  has 
banished  the  harp  from  the  school-room.  There  is  every  risk 
of  the  practising  on  this  instrument  producing  curvature  of 
the  spine  ■  whereas  the  piano,  from  exercising  both  hands 
at  a  time,  and  from  the  straight  posture  it  requires,  is  use- 
ful to  those  disposed  to  such  curvatures.  Duets  on  the 
harp  and  piano  are,  nevertheless,  very  delightful ;  and  they 
used  to  produce  a  good  effect  in  a  large  room,  when  two 
sisters,  or  a  professional  lady  and  her  young  pupil,  a  daugh- 
ter of  the  house,  opened  the  evening's  amusement  with  one 
of  those  exquisite  Italian  airs,  set  by  Bochsa  or  Chatterton. 
Simple  melodies,  sung  to  the  harp,  are  still  very  effective 
in  society  from  their  variety.  A  harp  requires  a  large 
room  ;  it  should  be  played  with  feeling  and  grace,  or  it 
becomes  very  unpleasant,  like  the  jingling  of  a  hired  band. 
It  requires  stout  nerves,  certainly,  for  the  display  necessary 
to  execute  an  air  on  the  harp,  perched  on  a  high  stool, 
and  forming  a  pleasing  object,  as  well  as  being  the  vehicle 
of  sweet  sounds  to  the  whole  company. 

The  guitar  makes  a  graceful  variety ;  but  is  more  appro- 
priate to  a  man's  than  to  a  woman's  playing.  It  is  mono- 
tonous, and  soon  fatigues  the  attention  ;  but,  being  easily 
portable,  is  often  a  resource  in  places  and  on  occasions 
where  a  piano  cannot  be  had. 

The  same  may  be  said  of  the  zitter,  one  of  the  sweetest 
and  most  touching  of  string  instruments  ;  but  still,  except 
for  the  occasional  playing  of  Tyrolean  minstrels,  unknown 
in  this  country.  It  is  of  Bavarian  origin,  and  is  the  oldest 
instrument  known.    Its  plaintive  and  appealing  sounds  are 


MUSICAL  INSTEUMENTS. 


233 


heard  in  Alpine  chalets,  or  by  the  forester's  fireside,  as  well 
as  in  the  courtly  revels  of  the  inhabitants  of  Vienna,  Inn- 
sprack,  and  Munich.  It  is  exquisite  as  an  accompaniment  of 
the  voice  ;  it  is  cheap  and  portable.  A  good  zitter  may  be 
obtained  for  thirty  shillings  or  two  pounds.  It  is  flat,  and 
takes  up  little  room,  and  should  be  placed  horizontally  on  a 
table,  without  a  cover.  It  requires,  however,  time  and  much 
practice  to  bring  out  those  thrilling  tones,  at  once  so  touch- 
ing and  so  peculiar.  The  most  eminent  professors  in  Ger- 
many speak  highly  of  the  powers  of  this  small  instrument, 
and  say  that  it  produces  notes  nearer  to  those  of  the  human 
voice  than  any  other.  Yet  it  is  not  calculated  for  large 
concerts  :  we  English  must  have  noise  and  show.  The 
zitter  is  an  instrument  for  the  houdoir,  for  lovers  in  a 
bower,  for  the  poet  in  his  turret,  for  the  devotee  to  all 
that  is  soft,  romantic,  and  unsophisticated. 

It  seems  scarcely  needful  to  point  to  the  violin  and 
violoncello  as  instruments  unsuitable  to  young  ladies ;  yet 
there  have  been  women  who  have  successfully  cultivated 
both,  to  the  great  credit  of  their  perseverance,  and  the 
great  detriment  of  their  feminine  attractions.  The  concer- 
tina is,  however,  a  beautiful  and  not  inappropriate  instru- 
ment, though  I  confess  the  inelegance  of  the  attitude  re- 
quired much  lessens  the  sentiment  inspired  by  the  beautiful 
tones  of  the  concertina. 

Nothing  requires  greater  judgment,  if  not  some  experi- 
ence of  society,  than  the  selection  of  pieces  to  play  in  com- 
pany. "  Oh  !  how  my  head  ached  last  night  !"  cries  an 
old  lady ;  "  we  had  a  piece  six  pages  long  ! "  Some 
ladies  sit  down  (as  it  seems)  with  an  intention  of  "  giving 
it  rein"  for  their  hearers.  Through  passage  after  passage, 
volleys  of  black  notes  are  made  to  speak,  and,  as  page  after 
page  is  turned  over  by  a  zealous  friend,  the  young  musician 
labours  at  it,  and  does  herself  justice,  and  her  hearers  a 
wrong  :  for  a  long  piece  is  as  bad  as  a  long  story,  and 
neither  are  fitted  for  society.  A  short,  perhaps  brilliant, 
thoroughly  well-learned  air  or  movement  by  some  good 
2  G 


234 


FEMININE  ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


master,  is  the  best  response  to  the  often  put  question, 
"  Will  you  play  something  1 "  The  loud,  thumping  style 
should  be  avoided  :  if  possible,  the  piece  should  not  be 
quite  common  and  hackneyed  ;  not  what  "  every  one"  plays. 
It  should  not  be  too  mournful,  nor  too  rapid.  On  sitting 
down  to  the  piano,  it  is  very  offensive  to  hear  a  young  lady 
find  fault  with  the  instrument,  or  complain  that  it  is  out  of 
tune — a  proof  either  that  her  temper  is  out  of  tune,  or  that 
she  wishes  to  impress  on  you  the  superiority  of  her  ear, 
which  detects  the  defect  to  yours,  which  has  stupidly  over- 
looked it.  All  self-assertion,  be  it  about  music,  or  singing, 
or  dancing,  or  anything,  is  unpleasant,  and  always  seen 
through.  There  is  a  certain  art,  too,  in  sitting  at  the 
piano  :  all  movements  of  the  body  should  be  avoided  : 
well-bred  people  play  without  them,  and  they  are  unplea- 
sant to  those  sitting  behind.  Be  ready  also  to  quit*  the 
instrument  after  finishing  :  in  some  cases,  when  once  seated, 
ladies  seem  to  be  glued  to  the  piano,  and  however  fascinat- 
ing may  be  their  efforts,  it  is  bad  policy  to  wear  your 
audience  out.  Then  another  hint  to  the  amateur  musician  : 
be  lenient,  at  all  events,  and  encouraging,  if  you  can,  to 
others.  There  is  no  need  to  flatter  ;  but  great  reason, 
especially  to  those  who  play  well,  to  be  amiable  on  this,  as 
on  other  points.  A  little  kindliness,  a  polite  attention  to 
the  feelings  of  others,  wins  many  a  friend  ;  for  we  are 
governed  by  the  trifles  of  life. 

Almost  every  well-educated  lady  can  play  a  little  ;  but 
that  is  not  the  case  in  respect  to  vocal  music.  Whether  it 
be  owing  to  English  climate,  or  English  constitution,  there 
is  no  saying  ;  but  there  is  nothing  more  rare  than  a  good 
voice.  It  may,  however,  provided  the  ear  be  good,  be 
almost  acquired ;  but  then  the  best  instruction  must  be 
obtained ;  a  dozen  good  lessons,  taken  not  too  soon,  but 
whenever  the  voice  is  formed,  and  the  young  lady  plays  well, 
are  far  more  beneficial  than  a  long  course  of  inferior  teach- 
ing. It  is  important  that  a  young  lady  should  not  begin 
to  sing  in  society  too  soon ;  it  is  objectionable  to  hear  a 


SINGING. 


235 


learner,  whose  performance  speaks  of  the  school-room  ;  it 
is  far  worse,  however,  to  be  condemned  to  listen  to  a  voice 
that  is  passed,  of  which  the  best  notes  are  cracked  or  feeble  ; 
and  there  is  something  absurd  in  hearing  a  stout  matron — 

"  A  mother  with  her  daughters  or  her  nieces, 
Looking  like  a  guinea,  with  her  seven  shilling  pieces," 

as  Byron  impertinently  has  it — singing  with  bygone  em- 
phasis about  love  ;  or  a  thin  spinster,  of  forty  or  more, 
holding  forth  in  such  songs  as  "I'll  watch  for  thee,"  or, 
"  Don't  forget  me."  Instrumental  music  is  appropriate  to 
any  age,  but  after  forty  the  voice  loses  the  delicious  fresh- 
ness of  youth,  the  style  is  no  longer  that  of  the  day,  and 
even  the  finest  amateur  vocal  performers  have  lost  some- 
thing, we  scarcely  know  what,  but  something  we  miss 
painfully. 

"When  asked  to  sing,  if  you  do  not  intend  to  do  so,  refuse 
so  decidedly  that  you  cannot  be  compelled ;  but  the  more 
decided  the  refusal,  the  gentler  should  the  manner  be. 
There  is  a  style  of  saying  "  No,"  that  never  offends.  You 
are  asked  as  a  compliment ;  as  a  compliment  receive  the 
entreaty.  If  you  intend  to  sing,  accept  at  once ;  do  not 
hurry  up  to  the  piano,  as  if  glad  of  an  opportunity  of 
showing  off,  but  go  gently  ;  if  by  request  you  have  brought 
your  music,  and  it  should  never  be  brought  to  those  who 
know  that  you  sing  without  request,  leave  it  down  stairs  ; 
it  can  be  sent  for  ;  but,  since  all  pauses  in  society  are  to 
be  avoided,  if  you  can  sing  without  notes  it  is  as  well  ;  at 
the  same  time,  never  attempt  to  do  so  unless  sure  of  your- 
self. A  half  forgotten  or  imperfect  song  is  irritating. 
Something  light  and  brilliant  is  best  for  a  commencement, 
or  a  little  air  not  too  well  known — German,  perhaps.  For 
the  sake  of  all  the  Muses,  do  not  attempt  a  long  Italian 
bravura  of  Verdi  or  Donizetti,  that,  perhaps,  half  the 
company  have  heard  Garcia  or  Piccolomini  sing  the  week 
before,  you  must  murder  it  to  ears  so  artistic  as  theirs. 
Or  if  you  are  singing  to  a  homely  audience,  the  simplest 


236 


FEMININE  ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


song  will  please  them  better.  The  difference  between  a 
professional  and  an  amateur  singer  should  always  be  kept 
in  view.  The  one  is  constrained  by  interest  to  astonish  ; 
the  other  has  no  other  inducement  than  to  charm.  The 
one  is  purchased,  the  other  is  a  voluntary  effort  to  pass 
away  time,  and  to  do  justice  to  the  composition  of  some  of 
the  popular  masters  of  the  day. 

The  form  and  movements  of  the  body  must  be  habitually 
controlled  in  singing.  In  nine  cases  out  of  ten  they  spoil 
the  effect  of  the  voice.  Some  ladies  bend  from  side  to  side, 
cast  up  their  eyes,  or  fix  them,  with  a  rapt  expression,  on 
the  wax-lights  above  them.  Others  make  alarming  faces, 
protrude  the  under  jaw,  or  what  is  worse,  assume  an  affect- 
ed smile.  A  good  master  suffers  none  of  these  defects  to 
creep  in.  He  regulates  the  mouth,  which  should  be  as 
little  drawn  as  possible ;  open  it  must  be,  but  should  ap- 
pear to  have  an  inclination  to  smile,  without  the  absolute 
smile.  A  great  deal  depends  on  the  right  mode  of  bring- 
ing out  the  voice.  I  confess  it  is  a  great  sacrifice  to 
see  one's  friends  look  frightful,  even  when  giving  out  the 
most  delicious  sounds  ;  nor  is  it  essential.  In  the  choice 
of  songs,  variety  is  to  be  adopted.  German  music  pleases, 
generally ;  but,  let  no  one  not  conversant  with  the  right 
pronunciation  of  any  foreign  language,  sing  in  it ;  there 
is  nothing  so  unpleasant  as  to  hear  broad  French,  mincing 
German,  or  lisping  Italian.  Even  in  English,  a  good 
accent  is  the  most  essential  thing  possible ;  and,  also, 
a  good  articulation.  A  simple  song,  sung  without  great 
powers  of  voice,  but  well  articulated,  delights,  because  it 
touches  the  understanding  to  which  it  appeals,  and  gratifies 
the  ear  which  approves  the  modest  and  careful  effort  of 
art.  Witness  the  extreme  pleasure,  amounting  to  enthu- 
siasm, afforded  by  the  singing  of  the  poet  Moore.  He  had 
no  compass  of  voice ;  what  he  had  was  musical,  but  not 
eminently  so ;  but  his  singing  captivated  from  the  clearness 
with  which  every  word  was  uttered  ;  the  way  in  which 
every  word  told  ;  the  easy,  natural  manner  of  the  poet  at 


WORKING. 


237 


the  piano.  On  one  occasion,  Mrs.  Billington  being  in  one 
room,  and  Moore  in  another,  of  some  great  London  house, 
crowds  nocked  around  the  poet,  whose  touching  tones  even 
drew  them  from  the  florid  singing  of  the  nightingale  of  her 
day,  The  same  effect  was  produced  by  the  singing  of  the 
late  Mrs.  Lockhart,  the  daughter  of  Sir  Walter  Scott,  to 
the  harp.  She  generally  sang  her  father's  poetry,  set  to 
music.  Her  taste,  her  feeling,  and  truth  of  expression, 
riveted  the  attention,  though  her  voice  had  little  power. 
The  French  excel  in  this  species  of  intellectual  singing,  if 
one  may  use  such  a  word,  but  theirs  is  chiefly  professional. 
Who  can  ever  forget  Madame  Jenny  Denner's  "  Ma  tante," 
or  Levassor's  "Vie  de  campagne  1"  Yet  neither  had 
the  average  amount  of  vocal  powers  of  a  village  chorister. 

After  finishing  one  song,  a  lady  should  rise  from  the 
piano,  even  if  she  be  brought  back  again  and  again.  Some 
ladies  are  so  aware  what  great  injustice  they  do  themselves 
by  being  induced  to  sing  too  much,  that  they  make  a  rule 
of  only  singing  two  songs  at  a  party ;  but  all  set  rules  in 
society  are  bad.  Nothing,  however,  can  be  worse  than  to 
go  on  from  song  to  song,  till  admiration,  and  even  patience 
are  exhausted,  and  politeness  is  driven  to  her  wits'  end  to 
be  civil.  Of  course,  it  is  almost  needless  to  say  that  sacred 
songs  should  be  avoided  in  parties.  I  doubt  whether  any 
of  the  deeper  feelings  should  be  paraded  on  light  occasions, 
and  if  songs  truly  mournful  are  not  better  reserved  for 
small  reunions  of  the  real  lovers  of  deep  pathos  in  music. 

All  accomplishments  have  the  one  great  merit  of  giving 
a  lady  something  to  do  ;  something  to  preserve  her  from 
ennui ;  to  console  her  in  seclusion  ;  to  arouse  her  in  grief ; 
to  compose  her  to  occupation  in  joy.  And  none  answers 
this  purpose  much  better  than  fancy  work,  or  even  plain 
work.  The  former  can  often  be  brought  advantageously 
into  the  rear  of  other  pursuits — as  a  reserve.  The  latter 
cannot  well  be  carried  into  society,  except  as  a  charity. 
The  Germans  do  this  gracefully.  At  some  of  their  courts 
the  great  set  the  example.    During  Lent,  at  Munich,  they 


238 


FEMININE  ACCOMPLISHMENTS. 


have  working  parties.  The  queen  made  a  baby's  shirt, 
one  evening,  when  one  of  these  reunions  was  held  in  the 
apartments  of  her  grande  maitresse.  The  king,  meantime, 
was  pulling  lint  for  the  hospitals.  Every  lady  of  the  court 
had  some  useful  article  before  her  •  warm  shawls  made 
with  the  crochet-needle  ;  stockings  knitted  ;  dresses,  chiefly 
for  children,  from  their  being  small.  Such  are  the  labours 
that  employ  on  certain  evenings  the  court  and  nobility  of 
a  nation  whose  aristocracy  is  among  the  most  ancient  and 
still  the  richest  in  Europe.  And  conversation  went  round 
cheerfully.  Little  tables  were  set  about,  and  the  assem- 
blage was  broken  up  into  parties,  each  table  holding  a  lady 
or  two,  with  a  gentleman  near  her.  A  terrible  waste  of 
time  in  small  parties  would,  indeed,  be  avoided,  if  some  sort 
of  work  could  be  introduced  ;  and,  if  young  ladies  were  not 
condemned  to  be  idle  for  several  hours,  they  would  look 
better,  and  be  happier,  more  amiable,  and  less  fatigued  than 
they  often  are  at  what  is  facetiously  termed  a  "  friendly 
party."  Not  that  it  is  recommended  to  take  into  a  party 
your  husband's  stockings  to  mend,  or  dear  Charles's  shirts, 
over  which  he  was  naturally  so  irritable  at  the  absence  of 
buttons,  or  Louisa's  pinafores  to  run  strings  into  ;  let  the 
work  have  the  characteristics  of  recreation  combined  with 
utility,  and  the  most  scrupulous  cannot  be  offended.  Such 
is  indeed  the  spirit  of  the  day  ;  for  we  are  a  more  sensible 
people  than  our  grandsires  were. 

Sketching  and  archery  stand  first  among  out-door  amuse- 
ments. They  are  healthy,  elegant,  and  appropriate  to  the 
feminine  character ;  while — first  thought  of  mammas  ! — 
they  assemble  rather  than  exclude  the  younger  members  of 
the  other  sex. 


CHAPTER  VII. 


MANNEE,  CAEEIAGE,  AND  HABITS, 

Teue  politeness  comes  from  the  heart,  and  this  being 
good,  the  rest  will  soon  follow.  But,  as  Chesterfield  says, 
"  good  sense  and  good  nature  suggest  civility  in  general ; 
but  in  good  breeding  there  are  a  thousand  little  delicacies, 
which  are  established  only  by  custom."  That  which  mili- 
tates most  against  good  breeding  is  an  indifference  to  or 
want  of  consideration  for  the  feelings  of  others  ;  and  what 
does  this  amount  to  but  a  bad  heart  1  A  courtier  may  hate 
me  with  civility,  and  a  brigand  rob  me  politely.  Is  there 
not  some  good  in  the  heart  of  both  these  men  1  Have 
they  not  a  great  consideration  for  my  feelings  1  They 
cannot,  they  would  tell  me,  help  what  they  do  ;  I  stand  in 
this  one's  way,  and  he  must  and  does  hate  me ;  I  have  a 
purse  and  the  other  is  a  robber,  he  must  and  will  take  it ; 
but  both  of  them,  compelled  to  treat  me  so  ill,  do  it  with 
a  grace  that  removes  half  the  annoyance  of  it.  The  cour- 
tier conceals  his  hatred,  and  what  therefore  do  I  care  for 
it  ?  I  do  not  even  know  of  its  existence,  and  a  passion 
which  we  never  discover  cannot  affect  us.  Then,  too,  if 
the  highwayman  politely  and  delicately  "  invites"  me  to 
give  up  those  few  paltry  bank-notes,  assuring  me  it  is  his 
"  profession,"  that  he  laments  the  necessity,  and  that  if  I 
show  no  fight,  no  violence  will  be  used,  I  have  at  least  the 
comfort  of  being  saved  from  a  fright,  of  being  allowed  free 
speech,  of  being  given  the  option  to  fight  or  yield,  so  that 
when  I  come  to  think  how  much  an  agreeable  manner  may 
239 


240  MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

do  to  console  and  conciliate,  I  don't  know  whether  I  could 
accuse  my  worst  enemy  of  a  want  of  heart,  if  he  behaved 
like  a  gentleman  to  me.  However,  I  am  convinced  that  if 
a  man  had  not  a  good  only,  but  a  perfect  heart,  if  all  his 
attention  were  directed  to  the  comfort  of  others,  and  he 
was  willing  perpetually  to  make  the  sacrifice  necessary  to 
insure  it,  he  would  need  little  or  no  instruction  in  manners 
more  than  a  little  experience.  He  would  soon  discover 
how  this  act  or  that  gave  offence  or  caused  embarrassment 
to  his  neighbour ;  and  while  he  saw  nothing  wrong  in  it 
himself,  would,  for  his  neighbour's  sake,  avoid  it  for  the 
future.  He  himself  might  see  no  harm  in  using  a  tooth- 
pick at  dinner,  but  he  would  soon  see  the  obnoxiousness  of 
it  reflected  in  opposite  faces,  and  down  would  go  the  tooth- 
pick. Give  such  a  man,  ill-bred,  even  unbred  naturally,  the 
time  and  the  opportunity,  a«d  he  would  turn  out  a  gentle- 
man. But  first,  where  do  you  find  this  perfect  considera- 
tion for  others,  this  brotherly  love,  for  it  is  nothing  else, 
which  descends  to  the  minutest  details,  and  feels  within 
itself  the  vibration  of  every  chord  too  rudely  struck  in  other 
hearts  %  Alas,  where  %  Or,  given  the  heart,  how  are  you 
to  insure  the  experience  1  Meanwhile,  in  waiting  for  hearts 
and  experiences,  society  grows  depraved.  It  is  for  this 
reason  that  we  set  up  laws  of  etiquette,  as  it  is  called — but 
laws  of  Christian  action  we  might  call  them — to  insist 
upon  the  show  of  that  which  ought  to  come  spontaneously 
from  the  heart.  In  doing  so,  we  merely  copy  lawgivers  of 
another  kind.  Honesty  is  not  honesty,  for  instance,  if  it 
-  come  not  from  within.  The  most  respectable  man  might 
be  dishonest  if  he  had  the  chance,  and  no  fear  of  the  law. 
Nevertheless  the  law  undertakes  to  make  men  appear 
honest,  because  it  knows  that  it  is  in  vain  to  wait  for 
honesty  in  heart.  The  law  tells  the  young  thief  he  must 
rob  no  more,  and  it  may  cure  him  of  thieving  and  make 
him  turn  out  a  respectable  man — in  appearance ;  but  it 
cannot  be  sure,  because  he  does  not  thieve,  that  he  has  no 
internal  desire  to  do  so,  and  would  not  do  so  if  the  fear  of 


MANNER  AND  THE  HEART. 


241 


the  law  were  gone.  So  too,  in  just  the  same  way,  the  laws 
of  society  give  rules  by  which  a  man  may  be  amiable  and 
well-bred — to  all  appearance;  but  it  cannot  a  whit  the 
more  insure  the  good  feeling  which  ought  to  suggest  the 
good  acts. 

I  say,  then,  that  because  Etiquette  lays  down  rules  by 
which  you  are  to  appear  to  have  a  heart,  she  does  nothing 
worse  than  the  laws  of  the  realm,  which  show  how  you 
may  appear  honest,  and  leave  your  heart  alone.  This  pre- 
face is  necessary,  because  when  I  say  a  man  is  to  smile  at 
such  a  time,  and  show  dignity  at  such  another,  the  world 
might  tell  me  I  was  teaching  hypocrisy.  I  am  doing  no- 
thing of  the  kind.  I  am  merely  providing  for  acts  which 
are  necessary  to  the  wellbeing  of  society,  because  I  know 
that  if  every  one  acted  according  to  his  heart,  the  world 
would  soon  be  turned  upside-down. 

So  then  I  can  manfully  say  that  a  good  manner  is  a  good 
gift.  We  know  all  about  oily  serpents,  we  have  read 
enough  of  them  in  romantic  novels,  but  I  am  bound  to  say 
I  prefer  an  oily  serpent,  by  way  of  society,  to  an  unlicked 
bear.  The  serpent  may  not  choose  me  to  bite,  I  may  enjoy 
his  society,  I  may  never  discover  that  he  is  anything  worse 
than  a  harmless  blind-worm  with  no  sting  in  him  ;  but  I 
cannot  have  been  a  minute  with  the  bear,  before  I  am  torn 
to  pieces.  When  I  hear  of  the  serpent's  biting  anybody,  I 
can  avoid  him  for  the  future,  but  in  the  meantime  he  is  an 
agreeable  companion,  and  I  have  no  right  to  judge  my  neigh- 
bour. T  say  then  that  a  man  should  curb  his  heart  first, 
but  if  he  cannot  do  or  has  not  done  this,  he  has  no  right 
to  come  bellowing  with  irritation  into  the  society  of  quiet 
people,  merely  because  he  will  not  take  the  trouble  to  be 
mannerly.  , 

Manner,  then,  I  am  bound  to  confess,  is  the  cloak  of 
character,  but  if  to  bare  the  character  be  indecent,  it  is 
better  it  should  wear  a  cloak  than  go  about  naked.  Un- 
til we  are  all  perfect,  until  there  is  a  millennium  on  earth, 
it  will  always  be  indecent  to  wear  our  feelings  in  Adamite 
2  H 


242  MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

costume,  and  so  long  will  a  garment,  like  that  of  Manner, 
be  necessary. 

A  good  carriage  involves  two  things,  a  respect  for  one's 
self  and  a  respect  for  others.  It  is  very  difficult  to  draw 
the  line  between  the  two,  and  to  show  where  the  one  should 
yield  to  the  other ;  but  as  the  world  goes,  the  man  who 
respects  himself  is  generally  respected,  and  for  a  very  good 
reason,  since  without  a  due  recognition  of  the  Divine  spark 
within  him,  a  recognition  owed  to  his  Maker,  no  man  can 
be  really  good.  On  the  other  side,  comes  the  Christian 
precept  which  bids  us  love  our  neighbour  as  ourself,  and 
at  once  defines  where  self-respect  must  end.  Wherever  our 
dignity,  our  prejudices,  our  opinions  begin  to  annoy  our 
neighbours,  to  cause  them  pain,  embarrassment,  or  confusion, 
they  must  give  way.  How  often  do  we  hear,  "  I  think 
Mr.   is  a  very  excellent  man,  but  he  has  a  most  dis- 
agreeable manner;"  the  fact  being  that  Mr.  ,  meaning 

very  well,  has  not  sufficient  consideration  for  others'  feel- 
ings to  temper  his  enthusiasm.  And  then  such  a  man  wins 
his  reward.  His  zeal  devours  him,  and  he  annihilates  by 
want  of  consideration  all  the  good  he  might  have  done. 
We  see  this  very  often  in  excellent  well-meaning  maiden 
ladies,  who  undertake  the  supervision  of  their  poorer  neigh- 
bours. Wherever  they  see  a  fault,  they  attack  it  harshly, 
unflinchingly,  unpityingly.  The  result  is,  that  the  poor 
they  visit  begin  to  loathe  them  and  their  visits,  and  instead 
of  improving,  despise  the  improver.  Then  send  to  them 
some  mild  untaught  girl,  all  love,  all  heart,  all  warmth,  and 
bid  her  win  them  back.  She  begins  instinctively  by  attach- 
ing them  to  herself,  she  is  all  interest,  all  kindness  to  them, 
and  when  she  has  made  their  hearts  her  own,  the  least  ex- 
pression of  a  wish  will  make  them  give  up  their  dearest 
vices.  How  well  has  it  been  put,  "  Smoothe  the  way  to 
the  head  through  the  heart,"  and  we  may  be  sure  that 
what  is  good  here  in  morals  is  good  in  manners.  Kudeness 
will  never  win  the  day  ;  an  amiable,  kind  manner  rides  over 
the  course. 


SELF-RESPECT  AND  SELF-ESTEEM. 


243 


The  first  rule,  then,  for  Manner,  is  self-respect.  With- 
out this,  a  man  is  not  only  weak  and  bad,  but  unfit  for 
society.  The  want  of  it  shows  itself  in  two  most  disagree- 
able forms,  adulation  and  awkwardness.  I  believe  both  to 
have  no  evil  intent  in  themselves.  Hundreds  and  thou- 
sands of  flatterers  and  hangers-on  have  never  hoped  to  gain 
a  single  benefit  from  their  adulation.  It  is  simple  weak- 
ness ;  simple  absence  of  self-respect.  But  the  world  will 
not  always  see  it  in  so  charitable  a  point  of  view,  and  the 
flatterer  is  denounced  as  interested.  In  any  case,  adulation 
is  bad,  for  it  is  dangerous  not  only  to  the  servile,  but  to 
those  to  whom  it  is  addressed.  Awkwardness  may  often 
arise  from  shyness,  but  more  often  is  the  fruit  of  a  want  of 
self-respect.    Both  are  to  be  sedulously  avoided. 

On  the  other  hand,  self-respect  is  liable  to  err  on  the  side 
of  dignity,  and  self-respect  is  only  one  step  removed  from 
self-esteem.  The  one  is  a  vice  ;  the  other  a  virtue.  Self- 
respect  is  the  acknowledgment  of  manhood,  of  the  good 
soul  God  has  given  you  to  take  care  of,  of  the  part  He  has 
given  you  to  play  in  life.  Self-esteem  is  an  arrogance  of 
superiority  in  these  points.  In  the  young  it  takes  the  form 
of  conceit ;  in  the  older,  of  stateliness ;  in  the  woman,  of 
vanity.  We  pardon  it  most  readily  in  middle-aged  men, 
and  yet  I  think  that  the  oppressive,  damping  dignity  of  some 
of  these  is  destructive  of  all  ease  in  society.  When  Pater- 
familias asserts  his  rights,  standing  with  his  coat-tails  spread 
before  the  fire,  which  he  hides  from  everybody  else,  we 
cannot,  dare  not  object  openly,  but  we  certainly  feel  chilled, 
inwardly  by  his  solemn  dignity,  and  outwardly  by  the  depri- 
vation of  caloric.  Scarcely  less  chilling  is  the  arrogance  of 
the  younger  man,  who  can  scarcely  condescend  to  converse 
with  us ;  who  brings  his  superior  information  down  upon 
our  humble  opinions,  like  an  avalanche  on  an  Alpine  village ; 
who  contradicts  us  flatly,  and  sneers  us  into  insignificance. 
Conversation  becomes  impossible,  and  society  is  deadened, 
under  such  influences. 

More  innocent,  but  not  less  contemptible,  is  the  affecta- 


244  MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

tion  which  arises  from  incipient,  often  from  full-grown, 
vanity.  In  men  it  is  simply  contemptible,  because  effemi- 
nate ;  and  the  youth  who  purposely  lisps  or  minces  his 
words,  or  the  silky  young  curate  who  has,  by  dint  of  prac- 
tice, forced  down  his  natural  voice  into  a  low,  but  as  Anna 
Maria  asserts,  most  thrilling,  whisper ;  or  the  dilettante  in 
music,  whose  hair  hangs  in  profuse  curls,  and  who,  as  he 
runs  fat,  white,  beringed  fingers  over  the  notes,  sways  his 
body  to  and  fro,  and  casts  his  glances  to  either  side  in  a 
kind  of  rapture ;  nay,  even  the  unnaturally  solemn  man, 
who  looks  you  through  as  if  he  were  casting  up  your 
little  account  of  sin  for  you,  together  with  a  thousand 
other  kinds  of  men,  are  all  too  obviously  affected  to  re- 
tain long  the  respect  of  sensible  people.  We  know  that 
nature  has  its  many  faults  to  be  curbed,  but  we  know  that 
where  nature  is  not  at  fault,  it  is  most  truthful  to  let  her 
have  her  run.  By  the  side  of  the  affected  man,  even  the 
bluntest  looks  noble,  and  for  the  very  reason  that  affecta- 
tion arises  from  a  want  of  self-respect  or  excess  of  self- 
esteem,  extremes  which  resemble  one  another. 

But  I  would  almost  dare  to  say  that  there  never  was  a 
woman  who  had  not  more  or  less  affectation  in  speaking  to 
men.  I  am  not  a  St.  Anthony,  but  I  believe  it  to  be 
natural  to  women  to  alter  their  manner  towards  the  other 
sex ;  so  that  I  involve  myself  in  a  paradox ;  it  is  natural 
for  them  to  be  unnatural  under  these  circumstances.  I  am 
not  going  into  the  logic  of  it,  but  really  this  is  only  an  ap- 
parent paradox,  and  I  may  say  with  perfect  truth  that  it  is 
natural  for  women  to  be  sometimes  unnatural.  If  you 
doubt  me,  watch  how  Clara,  the  simplest,  sweetest,  least 
sophisticated  of  her  sex,  talks  to  you,  a  man.  Then  put  on 
the  invisible  cap  and  follow  her  to  the  drawing-room,  where 
she  and  her  sisters  will  sit  alone  and  talk.  If  you  see  no 
marked  change  of  manner  in  Clara,  I  will  admit  that  I  am 
wrong. 

But  then  there  are  grades  in  women's  affectation,  and 
while  Clara  seems  to  be  "  all  nature,"  as  they  say  in  modern 


EXAMPLES  OF  A  BAD  MANNER. 


245 


novels,  we  can  exclaim  at  first  sight  that  Belinda  "  is  a  mass 
of  tarlatane  and  affectation."  My  dear  Belinda,  take  in 
good  part  the  warning  of  an  old  bachelor.  Believe  me  that 
men  who  are  worth  your  arrows  will  not  be  smitten  with 
tinsel  shafts  ;  believe  me  that  the  better  they  are,  the  more 
they  love  nature  in  women,  artlessness,  frankness,  modesty. 
But  then  there  is  even  an  affectation  of  naturalness,  and 
you,  Clarissa,  who  are  past  five-and-twenty — 0  yes,  I 
know  it,  for  your  little  brother  let  it  out ! — feel  that  you 
never  can  be  really  natural  again  in  society,  and  so  you 
affect  to  be  so,  by  becoming  brusque  and  somewhat  pert. 
Men,  Clarissa,  are  not  all  such  fools  as  you  imagine ;  they 
will  see  through  this  even  more  easily,  and  there  is  no  hope 
for  you,  but  to  be  with  them  what  you  are  before  your  own 
looking-glass.  But  I  am  trespassing  on  the  province  of  my 
colleague,  and  I  must  return,  very  loath,  to  the  men. 

Let  me  give  a  few  samples  of  manner  to  be  avoided. 
First  there  is  Tibbs,  short  enough  and  clever  enough  to 
be  a  great  man,  and  such,  I  daresay,  he  will  be  one  of  these 
days.  But  Tibbs  feels  within  him  the  spirit  of  governance, 
and  has  reverence  for  neither  old  nor  young.  He  walks 
with  a  short,  sharp  step,  his  little  nose  rather  elevated,  his 
eyes  glaring  to  detect  some  weakness  on  which  to  pounce. 
You  put  forward  an  opinion,  the  meekest  you  can  give  :  "  It 
will  turn  out  fine."  "  Beg  your  pardon,"  answered  Tibbs, 
with  that  sharp  snap,  which  makes  the  words  sound  like 
"  Don't  be  a  fool  !"  "  it  will  not  be  a  fine  day.  I  have  good 
reason  to  know  it,  there."  What  can  you  do  with  Tibbs, 
but  collapse  1  He  treats  his  father  and  grandfather,  and 
mother  and  sister,  all  in  the  same  way,  and  they  are  cowed 
before  him.  Tibbs  is  never  downrightly  rude.  You  can- 
not catch  him  up  and  call  him  a  bear ;  but  his  manner  of 
speaking  continually  conveys  the  impression  that  Tibbs  be- 
lieves in  his  own  acuteness  only,  and  in  nobody  else's.  He 
is  the  kind  of  man  who  can  open  Shakspere,  read  a  passage, 
and  exclaim,  "Did  you  ever  hear  such  nonsense?"  giving 
you  good  reasons  forsooth,  if  poets  and  philosophers  could 


246 


MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


be  measured  by  the  lowest  standard  of  the  dryest  common 
sense.  Tibbs  is  all  common  sense,  but  by  no  means  a  plea- 
sant companion. 

Very  different  is  old  Mr.  Dawdles.  He  seems  to  be  in 
a  state  of  chronic  plethora.  Say  what  you  will  on  his 
dearest  themes,  he  has  no  reply  for  you  but  a  yes  or  no 
snivelled  out.  When  he  speaks  himself,  he  appears  to  be 
grumbling  at  you,  however  kind  his  words.  You  know  he 
is  good  and  means  very  well,  and  he  would  give  you  half 
his  fortune  out  of  sheer  kindness,  but  with  a  gesture  and 
tone  of  voice  which  would  seem  to  say,  "  There,  take  it, 
and  don't  make  a  fuss."  He  does  hate  a  fuss,  more  than 
all  other  abominations. 

There  is  Slouch,  again,  whom  I  believe  to  be  an  incarna- 
tion of  honour  and  uprightness,  but  who  gives  you  the  idea 
of  a  sneak  and  a  villain.  He  never  looks  you  full  in  the 
face.  His  shaggy  brows  hang  over  his  lurking  eyes,  and 
his  words  come  cautiously  and  suspiciously  wriggling  up  to 
you. 

But  Pompous  has  the  best  of  hearts.  He  has  been  known 
to  go  out  of  his  way  for  miles  to  leave  a  little  something 
with  a  poor  widow.  And  how  the  man  wrongs  himself ! 
He  is  very  tall,  and  has  a  fine  figure.  He  draws  himself 
up  to  the  greatest  height,  and  looks  down  on  you  as  if  you 
were  a  Lilliput,  and  all  the  while  he  loves  you,  but  is 
ashamed  to  show  it.  He  orders  his  wife  and  servants 
about  with  a  calm  imperiousness  which  makes  them  dread 
him,  and  yet  they  all  acknowledge  they  never  knew  a  kinder 
man,  though  I  never  yet  saw  a  smile  of  pity  or  sympathy 
on  his  face. 

Far  less  admirable  is  that  weak  young  Fitzwhiskers,  who 
holds  his  head  so  very  high,  and  walks  down  the  room  with 
a  curled  lip,  which  seems  to  say,  "  What  scum  you  all  are !" 
Then  there  is  Commodus,  an  agreeable  man,  if  you  can 
keep  him  within  bounds.  He  sits  down  quietly  enough 
and  you  are  pleased,  but  in  two  minutes  he  is  making  the 
freest  possible  remarks,  with  no  harm,  no  intentional 


EXAMPLES  OF  A  BAD  MANNER. 


247 


offence  in  them,  but  yet  so  intolerably  familiar  for  a  man 
you  have  known  but  five  minutes,  that  they  quite  upset  you. 
Only  the  other  day  I  rashly  introduced  him  to  a  young 
lady,  and  she  afterwards  told  me  how  he  had  begun  : — 
"  Were  you  at  the  opera  last  night  1"  this  was  politely  and 
quietly  asked.  "  No."  "  How  very  fortunate  for  those 
who  were  there  !  Those  eyes  would  have  singed  a  dozen 
hearts." 

But  Vivax  is  one  of  the  worst.  He  talks  atrociously 
loud ;  hails  you  from  the  other  end  of  the  table.  "  Will 
trouble  you  for  that,  ha,  ha  !  and  for  this,  ho,  ho  !"  and 
"  Have  you  been  dancing,  Miss  Smith  1  ha,  ha  !  Then  of 
course  you  have,  Miss  Jones  1  he,  he  !  and  What  do  you  say 
to  it,  Mrs.  Brown  ?"  and  he  is  round  the  whole  circle,  from 
one  to  another,  in  two  minutes,  not  waiting  for  answers. 
Then  he  bustles  about ;  he  must  always  have  something  on 
hand.  He  drags  you  here  one  minute,  and  rushes  away 
from  you  the  next.  He  talks  as  rapidly  as  an  auctioneer, 
and  rattles  over  a  dozen  subjects  in  as  many  minutes.  He 
is  quick  and  clever,  but  when  he  has  jerked  out  his  own 
thought,  he  clinches  it  with  a  ha,  ha  !  or  a  he,  he  !  and 
never  waits  for  your  answer. 

Glumme  is  just  the  reverse.  You  must  do  all  the  talk- 
ing for  him  :  he  will  only  drawl  out  a  "  No-o-o,"  or  a 
"  Ye-e-es,"  and  wears  a  perpetual  scowl. 

Then  there  is  Tripett,  who  seizes  you  by  the  button-hole, 
and  grows  hot  over  the  merest  trifle ;  Courte,  who  replies 
with  a  sharp  sneer ;  Sterne,  who  has  for  ever  a  look  of 
reproof,  though  he  does  not  mean  it ;  Fidgette,  who  can 
never  be  prevailed  upon  to  be  comfortable ;  Bluff,  who 
terrifies  you  with  his  curt  blunt  manner  ;  and  Lackadaye, 
who  is  so  languid  that  he  cannot  take  the  trouble  even  to 
look  at  you.  One  genius  whom  I  knew,  never  removed 
his  eyes  from  the  lamp  on  the  table  ;  another  rushed  up  to 
you,  seized  both  your  hands,  and  gazed  with  apparent  affec- 
tion into  your  eyes  ;  a  third  spoke  deep  truths  in  a  low 
solemn  tone,  as  he  gazed  at  a  spot  on  the  carpet ;  a  fourth 


248 


MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


moved  his  head  to  and  fro,  as  if  to  avoid  your  gaze  :  and  a 
fifth,  the  greatest  of  all,  never  spoke  at  all. 

The  manner,  in  short,  which  a  man  must  aspire  to,  is 
one  which  will  give  ease,  and  not  embarrassment,  to  others. 
He  must  preserve  a  certain  dignity,  but  yet  be  pliant  ;  he 
must  be  open,  frank ;  look  you  honestly  in  the  face,  speak 
out  confidently,  yet  calmly ;  modestly,  yet  firmly ;  not  be 
bluff  or  blunt,  but  yet  be  free  and  simple.  In  fact,  let  a  man 
be  natural,  let  him  be  in  society  what  he  is  anywhere ;  but 
if  he  find  his  natural  manner  too  rough,  too  loud,  too  curt, 
or  too  brutal,  let  him  learn  to  tame  it  and  calm  it  down. 

But  manner  has  various  functions  for  various  circum- 
stances. Towards  our  elders  and  superiors,  we  must  show 
an  honest,  not  servile  deference;  towards  women,  gentle- 
ness ;  towards  juniors,  tenderness  ;  towards  inferiors,  a 
simple  dignity,  without  condescension.  Aristotle,  who  was 
perhaps  a  better  philosopher  than  gentleman,  recommends 
a  haughtiness  to  superiors,  and  graceful  freedom  to  in- 
feriors. The  world  is  old  enough  to  judge  for  itself.  But 
when  a  man  finds  that  his  lively  badinage  suits  a  band  of 
merry  lissome  girls,  he  must  not  be  so  wild  as  to  rush  at 
Papa  with  the  same  kind  of  banter.  Paterfam.  may  give 
a  smile  to  real  wit  and  laugh  at  a  good  story,  but  the 
same  trifling  which  makes  his  daughters  laugh  so  ringingly, 
will  only  appear  to  him  a  familiarity  when  addressed  to 
himself.  Then,  again,  the  gravity  into  which  you  have 
fallen  when  discussing  great  measures  with  a  philanthropist, 
will  afford  no  satisfaction  to  the  airy  mass  of  tarlatane 
with^-whom  you  dance  soon  after.  Solomon  has  said  it : 
there  is  &  time  to  weep  and  a  time  to  laugh.  In  other 
words,  be  you  as  merry  a  jester  as  ever  sat  at  a  king's  table, 
you  must  not  obtrude  your  unweary  mirth  at  a  visit  of 
condolence  ;  or  be  you  the  "  most  bereaved"  of  widowers, 
you  will  not  bring  your  tears  and  sighs  to  damp  the  merri- 
ment of  social  gatherings. 

What  applies  to  manner  may  be  transferred  in  most 
respects  to  that  bearing  which  distinguishes  a  man  in  society. 


THE  PHYSICAL  CAKRIAGE. 


249 


But  the  times  change  much  in  this  respect,  and  the  old 
courteous  dignity  with  which  the  beaux  of  my  younger  days 
behaved,  has  given  way  to  greater  ease,  and  sometimes,  I 
fear,  to  too  great  freedom.  I  do  not  know  whether  to 
regret,  or  not,  the  strict  courteousness  of  those  times.  It 
often  amounted  to  affectation  ;  it  was  not  natural  to  be 
ever  bowing  low,  making  set  speeches,  raising  a  lady's  hands 
to  one's  lips,  or  pressing  one's  own  upon  the  region  of  the 
heart,  but  at  the  same  time  I  regret  the  lounging  familiarity 
which  we  see  too  prevalent  among  young  men  of  the  pre- 
sent day.  There  is  not  in  fact  sufficient  reverence  for  the 
fair  and  the  old.  Sometimes  this,  I  regret  to  say,  must  be 
charged  to  the  fault  of  the  former  ;  and  a  young  lady  who 
talks  slang,  or  is  always  with  "  the  men,"  must  expect  to 
find  them  sometimes  abuse  her  good-nature.  But  abstracts 
are  ineffective ;  let  me  come  to  some  details  as  to  the  phy- 
sical carriage  of  a  man. 

A  certain  dignity  is  the  first  requisite,  but  we  must  not 
expect  too  much  of  it  in  the  young,  and  we  should  not 
emulate  the  solemnity  of  Charles  the  First,  who  never 
laughed.  It  is  a  mistake,  too,  to  suppose  that  height  is 
necessary  for  dignity.  Chesterfield,  the  most  polished  gen- 
tleman of  his  day,  was  only  five  feet  seven  in  height,  and 
"Wellington  and  Bonaparte,  both  short  men,  have  never  been 
accused  of  want  of  dignity.  But  at  the  same  time  the 
assumption  of  it  is  more  liable  to  become  ridiculous  in  a  short 
than  in  a  tall  man.  Dignity  can  never  go  along  with 
a  slouching  gait,  and  uprightness  should  be  acquired  in 
childhood  by  gymnastics  and  ample  exercise.  This  upright- 
ness, however,  should  not  go  to  the  extent  of  curving  the 
back  inwards.  The  chest  should  be  expanded,  but  not  so 
much  as  to  make  "  a  presence."  The  head  should  be  set 
well  back  on  the  shoulders,  but  not  tossed  up  nor  jerked 
on  one  side  with  that  air  of  pertness  you  see  in  some  men. 
People  of  height  are  often  foolish  enough  to  mar  it  by  bend- 
ing the  head  forward,  whereas,  if  carried  well,  a  tall  figure 
is  never  awkward,  even  among  Lilliputs.  In  standing,  the 
2i 


250 


MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


legs  ought  to  be  straight,  or  one  of  them  bent  a  little,  but 
not  set  wide  apart.  In  walking,  they  should  be  moved 
gently  but  firmly  from  the  hips,  so  that  the  upper  part  of 
the  body  may  remain  in  the  same  position.  How  often 
from  my  window  have  I  been  able  to  mark  a  man  by  his 
walk  !  One  comes  striding  stoutly  like  a  captain  on  quar- 
ter-deck ;  another  shambles  his  feet  along  the  pavement ; 
a  third  swings  his  arms  violently  ;  a  fourth  carries  them 
bowed  out  before  him  like  a  dancing-master  of  the  old 
school ;  a  fifth  turns  out  his  huge  feet  at  an  angle  of  forty- 
five  ;  another  jerks  forward  his  pointed  toes  like  a  soldier 
at  drill ;  another  sways  his  body  from  side  to  side  ;  another 
looks  almost  hump-backed,  as  he  moves  heavily  on ;  one  more 
saunters  listlessly  with  his  hands  in  his  pockets;  this  one 
moves  his  arms  back  behind  him,  and  that  one  carries  them 
stiff  and  straight  as  iron  bars,  with  his  fists  clenched  like 
knobs  at  the  end  thereof.  The  feet  must  be  turned  outwards 
very  little  indeed ;  the  arms  should  be  carried  easily  and  very 
slightly  bent  at  the  sides,  and  in  walking  should  be  moved 
a  little,  without  swinging  them  ;  and  the  shoulders  should 
never  be  shrugged  up.  Avoid  stiffness  on  the  one  hand, 
lounging  on  the  other.  Be  natural  and  perfectly  at  your 
ease,  whether  in  walking  or  sitting,  and  aspire  to  calm  con- 
fidence rather  than  loftiness. 

There  is,  however,  one  good  habit  which  must  not  be 
overlooked.  You  should  never  speak  without  a  slight" 
smile,  or  at  least  a  beam  of  good-will  in  your  eyes,  and  that 
to  all,  whether  your  equals  or  inferiors.  To  the  latter  it  is 
especially  necessary,  and  often  wins  you  more  love  than 
the  most  liberal  benevolence.  But  this  smile  should  not 
settle  into  a  simper,  nor,  when  you  are  launched  in  a  con- 
versation, should  it  interfere  with  the  earnestness  of  your 
manner.  To  a  lady  it  should  be  more  marked  than  to  a 
man. 

In  listening,  again,  you  should  manifest  a  certain  interest 
in  what  a  person  is  saying  ;  and  however  little  worthy  of 
attention,  you  should  not  show  that  you  think  it  so  by  the 


CARRIAGE. 


251 


toss  of  your  head  or  the  wandering  of  your  eyes.  In 
speaking  to  any  one  you  should  look  them  in  the  face,  for 
the  eyes  always  aid  the  tongue,  but  you  should  not  carry 
this  to  the  extent  of  wriggling  yourself  forward  in  order 
to  catch  their  eyes,  if  there  happen  to  be  another  person 
between  you. 

It  is  painful  to  see  the  want  of  ease  with  which  some 
men  sit  on  the  edge  of  a  chair  ;  but  at  the  same  time  the 
manner  in  which  others  throw  themselves  back  and  stretch 
forward  their  legs  savours  too  much  of  familiarity.  You 
may  cross  your  legs  if  you  like,  but  not  hug  your  knees  nor 
your  toes.  Straddling  a  chair,  and  tilting  it  up  may  be 
pardonable  in  a  bachelor's  rooms,  but  not  in  a  lady's  draw- 
ing-room. Then,  if  you  carry  a  walking-stick  or  umbrella 
in  the  street,  you  should  avoid  swinging  them  violently 
about,  or  tucking  them  under  the  arm.  Both  are  dangerous 
to  your  neighbours,  for  in  the  one  case  you  may  inadvert- 
ently strike  a  person  and  get  into  as  great  trouble  as  the 
individual  who  was  brought  up  the  other  day  for  assaulting  a 
woman  with  a  cricket-bat,  which  he  affirmed  he  was  merely 
swinging  about  carelessly  ;  in  the  other,  the  point  of  your 
stick  may  run  into  some  unfortunate  creature's  eye. 

Foreigners  talk  with  their  arms  and  hands  as  auxiliaries 
to  the  voice.  The  custom  is  considered  vulgar  by  us  calm 
Englishmen,  and  a  Parisian,  who  laughs  at  our  ladies' 
dressing,  will  still  admit  that  our  men  are  "  distingues, 
mais  Ires-distinguter  If  the  face  follows  the  words,  and 
you  allow,  without  grimacing,  your  eyes  and  smile  to  ex- 
press what  you  are  saying,  you  have  no  need  to  act  it  with 
the  hands,  but,  if  you  use  them  at  all,  it  should  be  very 
slightly  and  gracefully,  never  bringing  down  a  fist  upon  the 
table,  nor  slapping  one  hand  upon  another,  nor  poking  your 
fingers  at  your  interlocutor.  Pointing,  too,  is  a  habit  to 
be  avoided,  especially  pointing  with  the  thumb  over  the 
shoulder,  which  is  an  inelegant  action.  In  short,  while 
there  is  no  occasion  to  be  stolid  or  constrained,  you  should 
not  be  too  lively  in  your  actions,  and  even  if  led  away  by 


252 


MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


the  enthusiasm  of  an  argument,  should  never  grow  loud, 
rant,  or  declaim.  No  manner  is  more  disagreeable  than 
that  of  vehement  affirmation  or  laying  down  the  law. 

With  these  remarks  I  may  pass  to  consider  certain  habits 
which  are  more  or  less  annoying  to  your  neighbours.  First, 
there  is  that  odious  habit  of  touching  the  nose  and  ears 
with  the  fingers,  for  which  there  is  no  excuse.  Every  part 
of  the  person  should  be  properly  tended  in  the  dressing- 
room,  never  in  the  drawing-room,  and  for  this  reason  picking 
the  teeth,  however  fashionable  it  may  once  have  been, 
scratching  the  head,  the  hands,  or  any  part  of  the  body,  are 
to  be  avoided.  Mr.  Curzon  tells  us  that  at  Erzeroum  it  is 
quite  the  fashion  to  scratch  the  bites  of  a  little  insect  as 
common  there  as  in  certain  London  hotels,  and  it  is  even 
considered  a  delicate  attention  to  catch  the  lively  creatures 
as  they  perch  on  the  dress  or  shoulders  of  your  partner. 
Fortunately  we  are  not  tempted  to  perform  such  attentions 
in  this  country ;  but,  if  you  have  the  misfortune  to  be  bitten 
or  stung  by  any  insect,  you  must  endure  the  pain  without 
scratching  the  bite  in  company.  These  same  little  insects 
being  of  very  disagreeable  origin,  are  not  even  spoken  of 
with  us.  Biting  the  nails,  again,  is  not  only  a  dirty  habit, 
but  one  which  soon  disfigures  the  fingers.  So  too  in  blow- 
ing your  nose,  you  must  not  make  the  noise  of  a  trumpet, 
but  do  it  gently  and  quietly  ;  and,  when  you  sneeze,  use 
your  handkerchief.  I  do  not  go  the  length  of  saying  that 
you  must  repress  a  sneeze  entirely.  There  is  a  pleasant 
custom,  still  universal  in  Germany  and  Italy,  and  retained 
among  the  peasantry  in  some  parts  of  England,  of  blessing 
a  person  who  has  sneezed,  henedicite,  Gott  segne  sie,  and 
"  bless  you,"  being  the  terms  used,  probably  in  the  hope 
that  the  prayer  may  keep  you  from  cold. 

Sneezing  brings  me  to  snuffing,  which  is  an  obsolete 
custom,  retained  only  by  a  few  old  gentlemen,  and  as  it 
is  a  bad  one,  no  young  man  should  think  of  reviving  it. 

But  what  shall  I  say  of  the  fragrant  weed  which  Raleigh 
taught  our  gallants  to  puff  in  capacious  bowls  ;  which  a 


THE  EFFECTS  OF  SMOKING. 


253 


royal  pedant  denounced  in  a  famous  "  Counterblast ; "  which 
his  flattering  laureate,  Ben  Jonson,  ridiculed  to  please  his 
master ;  which  our  wives  and  sisters  protest  gives  rise  to  the 
dirtiest  and  most  unsociable  habit  a  man  can  indulge  in ;  of 
which  some  fair  favourers  declare  that  they  love  the  smell, 
and  others  that  they  will  never  marry  an  indulger  (which, 
by  the  way,  they  generally  end  in  doing) ;  which  has  won  a 
fame  over  more  space  and  among  better  men  than  Noah's 
grape  has  ever  done ;  which  doctors  still  dispute  about,  and 
boys  still  get  sick  over :  but  which  is  the  solace  of  the  weary 
labourer ;  the  support  of  the  ill-fed  ;  the  refresher  of  over- 
wrought brains  ;  the  soother  of  angry  fancies  ;  the  boast 
of  the  exquisite  ;  the  excuse  of  the  idle  ;  the  companion 
of  the  philosopher  ;  and  the  tenth  muse  of  the  poet.  I 
will  go  neither  into  the  medical  nor  the  moral  question 
about  the  dreamy,  calming  cloud.  I  will  content  myself 
so  far  with  saying  what  may  be  said  for  everything  that 
can  bless  and  curse  mankind,  that,  in  moderation,  it  is  at 
least  harmless ;  but  what  is  moderate  and  what  is  not,  must 
be  determined  in  each  individual  case,  according  to  the 
habits  and  constitution  of  the  subject.  If  it  cures  asthma, 
it  may  destroy  digestion  ;  if  it  soothes  the  nerves,  it 
may,  in  excess,  produce  a  chronic  irritability. 

But  I  will  regard  it  in  a  social  point  of  view  ;  and,  first, 
as  a  narcotic,  notice  its  effects  on  the  individual  character. 
I  believe,  then,  that  in  moderation  it  diminishes  the  violence  of 
the  passions,  and  particularly  that  of  the  temper.  Interested 
in  the  subject,  I  have  taken  care  to  seek  instances  of  mem- 
bers of  the  same  family  having  the  same  violent  tempers 
by  inheritance,  of  whom  the  one  has  been  calmed  down  by 
smoking,  and  the  other  gone  on  in  his  passionate  course. 
I  believe  that  it  induces  a  habit  of  calm  reflectiveness, 
which  causes  us  to  take  less  prejudiced,  perhaps  less  zealous 
views  of  life,  and  to  be  therefore  less  irritable  in  our  con- 
verse with  our  fellow-creatures.  I  am  inclined  to  think 
that  the  clergy,  the  squirearchy,  and  the  peasantry  are  the 
most  prejudiced  and  most  violent  classes  in  this  country ; 


25 4  MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

there  may  be  other  reasons  for  this,  but  it  is  noteworthy 
that  these  are  the  classes  which  smoke  least.  On  the 
other  hand,  I  confess  that  it  induces  a  certain  lassitude, 
and  a  lounging,  easy  mode  of  life,  which  are  fatal  both  to 
the  precision  of  manners  and  the  vivacity  of  conversation. 
The  mind  of  a  smoker  is  contemplative  rather  than  active  ; 
and  if  the  weed  cures  our  irritability,  it  kills  our  wit.  I 
believe  that  it  is  a  fallacy  to  suppose  that  it  encourages 
drinking.  There  is  more  drinking  and  less  smoking  in  this 
than  in  any  other  country  of  the  civilized  world.  There 
was  more  drinking  among  the  gentry  of  last  century,  who 
never  smoked  at  all.  Smoke  and  wine  do  not  go  well 
together.  Coffee  or  beer  are  its  best  accompaniments, 
and  the  one  cannot  intoxicate,  the  other  must  be  largely 
imbibed  to  do  so.  I  have  observed  among  young  bachelors 
that  very  little  wine  is  drunk  in  their  chambers,  and  that 
beer  is  gradually  taking  its  place.  The  cigar,  too,  is  an 
excuse  for  rising  from  the  dinner-table  where  there  are  no 
ladies  to  go  to. 

In  another  point  of  view,  I  am  inclined  to  think  that 
smoking  has  conduced  to  make  the  society  of  men  when  alone 
less  riotous,  less  quarrelsome,  and  even  less  vicious  than  it 
was.  Where  young  men  now  blow  a  common  cloud,  they  were 
formerly  driven  to  a  fearful  consumption  of  wine,  and  this 
in  their  heads,  they  were  ready  and  roused  to  any  iniquity. 
But  the  pipe  is  the  bachelor's  wife.  With  it  he  can  endure 
solitude  longer,  and  is  not  forced  into  low  society  in  order 
to  shun  it.  With  it  too  the  idle  can  pass  many  an  hour, 
which  otherwise  he  would  have  given,  not  to  work,  but 
to  extravagant  devilries.  With  it  he  is  no  longer  restless 
and  impatient  for  excitement  of  any  kind.  We  never  hear 
now  of  young  blades  issuing  in  bands  from  their  wine  to 
beat  the  watch  or  disturb  the  slumbering  citizens,  as  we 
did  thirty  or  forty  years  ago,  when  smoking  was  still  a 
rarity :  they  are  all  puffing  harmlessly  in  their  cham- 
bers now.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  I  foresee  with  dread  a 
too  tender  allegiance  to  the  pipe,  to  the  destruction  of  good 


TI  E  ETIQUETTE  OF  THE  WEED. 


255 


society,  and  the  abandonment  of  the  ladies.  No  wonder 
they  hate  it,  dear  creatures ;  the  pipe  is  the  worst  rival  a 
woman  can  have :  and  it  is  one  whose  eyes  she  cannot  scratch 
out  j  who  improves  with  age,  while  she  herself  declines ; 
who  has  an  art  which  no  woman  possesses,  that  of  never 
wearying  her  devotee ;  who  is  silent,  yet  a  companion ;  costs 
little,  yet  gives  much  pleasure  ;  who,  lastly,  never  upbraids, 
and  always  yields  the  same  joy.  Ah  !  this  is  a  powerful 
rival  to  wife  or  maid,  and  no  wonder  that  at  last  the 
woman  succumbs,  consents,  and  rather  than  lose  her  lord 
or  master,  even  supplies  the  hated  herb  with  her  own  fair 
hands.  And  this  is  what  women  have  come  to  do  on  the 
Continent ;  but  in  America  they  have  gone  further,  and 
admitted  the  rival  to  their  very  drawing-rooms,  where  the 
unmanly  husband  stretches  his  legs  on  the  sofa,  smokes, 
and  spits  on  the  carpet.  Far  be  it  from  our  English 
women  to  permit  any  such  habits ;  and  yet,  as  things  are, 
a  little  concession  is  prudent.  There  was  not  so  much 
drinking  when  withdrawing-rooms  were  the  privilege  of 
palaces,  and  matrons  sat  over  the  cups  of  their  lords,  and 
there  will  not  be  near  so  much  smoking  where  ladies  are 
present.  I  have  no  wish  to  see  English  girls  light  their 
own  cigarettes  or  puff  their  own  chibouks,  like  the  houris  of 
Seville  and  Bagdad ;  but  I  do  think  that,  as  smoking  is 
now  so  much  a  habit  of  Englishmen,  it  would  be  wise  if  it 
were  made  possible,  within  certain  well-guarded  limitations, 
in  the  society  of  ladies. 

As  it  is,  there  are  rules  enough  to  limit  this  indulgence. 
One  must  never  smoke,  nor  even  ask  to  smoke,  in  the  com- 
pany of  the  fair.  If  they  know  that  in  a  few  minutes  you 
will  be  running  off  to  your  cigar,  the  fair  will  do  well — say 
it  is  in  a  garden,  or  so — to  allow  you  to  bring  it  out  and 
smoke  it  there.  One  must  never  smoke,  again,  in  the 
streets ;  that  is,  in  daylight.  The  deadly  crime  may  be 
committed,  like  burglary,  after  dark,  but  not  before.  One 
must  never  smoke  in  a  room  inhabited  at  times  by  the 
ladies ;  thus,  a  well-bred  man  who  has  a  wife  or  sisters, 


256 


MANNEK,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


ay  ill  not  offer  to  smoke  in  the  dining-room  after  dinner. 
One  must  never  smoke  in  a  public  place,  where  ladies  are  or 
might  be,  for  instance,  a  flower-show  or  promenade.  One  may 
smoke  in  a  railway-carriage  in  spite  of  bye-laws,  if  one  has 
first  obtained  the  consent  of  every  one  present;  but  if  there 
be  a  lady  there,  though  she  give  her  consent,  smoke  not. 
In  nine  cases  out  of  ten,  she  will  give  it  from  good-nature. 
One  must  never  smoke  in  a  close  carriage ;  one  may  ask 
and  obtain  leave  to  smoke  when  returning  from  a  pic-nic  or 
expedition  in  an  open  carriage.  One  must  never  smoke  in 
a  theatre,  on  a  race-course,  nor  in  church.  This  last  is  not 
perhaps  a  needless  caution.  In  the  Belgian  churches  you 
see  a  placard  announcing,  "  Ici  on  ne  mache  pas  du  tabac." 
One  must  never  smoke  when  anybody  shows  an  objection 
to  it.  One  must  never  smoke  a  pipe  in  the  streets  ;  one 
must  never  smoke  at  all  in  the  coffee-room  of  a  hotel.  One 
must  never  smoke,  without  consent,  in  the  presence  of  a 
clergyman,  and  one  must  never  offer  a  cigar  to  any  ecclesi- 
astic over  the  rank  of  curate. 

But  if  you  smoke,  or  if  you  are  in  the  company  of 
smokers,  and  are  to  wear  your  clothes  in  the  presence  of 
ladies  afterwards,  you  must  change  them  to  smoke  in.  A 
host  who  asks  you  to  smoke,  will  generally  offer  you  an 
old  coat  for  the  purpose.  You  must  also,  after  smoking, 
rinse  the  mouth  well  out,  and,  if  possible,  brush  the  teeth. 
You  should  never  smoke  in  another  person's  house  without 
leave,  and  you  should  not  ask  leave  to  do  so,  if  there  are 
ladies  in  the  house.  When  you  are  going  to  smoke  a 
cigar  yourself,  you  should  offer  one  at  the  same  time  to 
anybody  present,  if  not  a  clergyman  or  a  very  old  man. 
You  should  always  smoke  a  cigar  given  to  you,  whether 
good  or  bad,  and  never  make  any  remarks  on  its  quality. 

Smoking  reminds  me  of  spitting,  but  as  this  is  at  all 
times  a  disgusting  habit,  I  need  say  nothing  more  than — 
never  indulge  in  it.  Besides  being  coarse  and  atrocious,  it 
is  very  bad  for  the  health. 

There  are  some  other  habits  which  are  disagreeable 


HABITS  AT  TABLE. 


257 


to  your  company.  One  is  that  of  sniffling  or  breathing 
hard  through  the  nostrils,  which  is  only  excusable  if  you 
have  a  cold,  and  even  then  very  disagreeable.  Another  is 
that  of  shaking  the  table  with  your  leg,  a  nervous  habit, 
which  you  may  not  always  be  conscious  of.  Then  again, 
however  consoling  to  sing  and  hum  to  yourself,  you  must 
remember  that  it  may  annoy  others,  and  though  you  may 
whistle  when  alone,  "  for  want  of  thought,"  you  will  whistle 
in  company  only  for  want  of  consideration  of  others.  Ladies 
particularly  object  to  whistling,  which  is  a  musical,  but  not 
very  melodious  habit. 

We  now  come  to  habits  at  table,  which  are  very  import- 
ant. However  agreeable  a  man  may  be  in  society,  if  he 
offends  or  disgusts  by  his  table  traits,  he  will  soon  be 
scouted  from  it,  and  justly  so.  There  are  some  broad  rules 
for  behaviour  at  table.  Whenever  there  is  a  servant  to 
help  you,  never  help  yourself.  Never  put  a  knife  into  your 
mouth,  not  even  with  cheese,  which  should  be  eaten  with  a 
fork.  Never  use  a  spoon  for  anything  but  liquids.  Never 
touch  anything  edible  with  your  fingers. 

Forks  were  undoubtedly  a  later  invention  than  fingers, 
but  as  we  are  not  cannibals,  I  am  inclined  to  think  they 
were  a  good  one.  There  are  some  few  things  which  you 
may  take  up  with  your  fingers.  Thus  an  epicure  will  eat 
even  macaroni  with  his  fingers  ;  and  as  sucking  asparagus 
is  more  pleasant  than  chewing  it,  you  may  as  an  epicure, 
take  it  up  an  naturel.  But  both  these  things  are  generally 
eaten  with  a  fork.  Bread  is  of  course  eaten  with  the 
fingers,  and  it  would  be  absurd  to  carve  it  with  your  knife 
and  fork.  It  must,  on  the  contrary,  always  be  broken 
when  not  buttered,  and  you  should  never  put  a  slice  of  dry 
bread  to  your  mouth  to  bite  a  piece  off.  Most  fresh  fruit 
too  is  eaten  with  the  natural  prongs,  but  when  you  have 
peeled  an  orange  or  apple,  you  should  cut  it  with  the  aid 
of  the  fork,  unless  you  can  succeed  in  breaking  it.  Apro- 
pos of  which  I  may  hint  that  no  epicure  ever  yet  put 
knife  to  apple,  and  that  an  orange  should  be  peeled  with 
2  K 


258  MANNER,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

a  spoon.  But  the  art  of  peeling  an  orange  so  as  to  hold 
its  own  juice,  and  its  own  sugar  too,  is  one  that  can  scarcely 
be  taught  in  a  book. 

However,  let  us  go  to  dinner,  and  I  will  soon  tell  you 
whether  you  are  a  well-bred  man  or  not ;  and  here  let  me 
premise  that  what  is  good  manners  for  a  small  dinner  is 
good  manners  for  a  large  one,  and  vice  versa.  Now,  the 
first  thing  you  do  is  to  sit  down.  Stop,  sir  !  pray  do  not 
cram  yourself  into  the  table  in  that  way;  no,  nor  sit  a 
yard  from  it,  like  that.  How  graceless,  inconvenient,  and 
in  the  way  of  easy  conversation  !  Why,  dear  me,  you  are 
positively  putting  your  elbows  on  the  table,  and  now  you 
have  got  your  hands  fumbling  about  with  the  spoons  and 
forks,  and  now  you  are  nearly  knocking  my  new  hock 
glasses  over.  Can't  you  take  your  hands  down,  sir?  Didn't 
you  learn  that  in  the  nursery  1  Didn't  your  mamma  say  to 
you,  "  Never  put  your  hands  above  the  table  except  to  carve 
or  eat!"  Oh  !  but  come,  no  nonsense,  sit  up  if  you  please. 
I  can't  have  your  fine  head  of  hair  forming  a  side  dish  on 
my  table  ;  you  must  not  bury  your  face  in  the  plate,  you 
came  to  show  it,  and  it  ought  to  be  alive.  Well,  but  there 
is  no  occasion  to  throw  your  head  back  like  that,  you  look 
like  an  alderman,  sir,  after  dinner.  Pray,  don't  lounge  in 
that  sleepy  way.  You  are  here  to  eat,  drink,  and  be  merry. 
You  can  sleep  when  you  get  home. 

Well,  then,  I  suppose  you  can  see  your  napkin.  Got 
none,  indeed  !  Very  likely,  in  my  house.  You  may  be 
sure  that  I  never  sit  down  to  a  meal  without  napkins.  I 
don't  want  to  make  my  tablecloths  unfit  for  use,  and  I 
don't  want  to  make  my  trousers  unwearable.  Well  now, 
we  are  all  seated,  you  can  unfold  it  on  your  knees  :  no,  no  ; 
don't  tuck  it  into  your  waistcoat  like  an  alderman ;  and 
what !  what  on  earth  do  you  mean  by  wiping  your  forehead 
with  it  %  Do  you  take  it  for  a  towel  %  Well,  never  mind, 
I  am  consoled  that  you  did  not  go  farther,  and  use  it  as  a 
pocket-handkerchief.  So  talk  away  to  the  lady  on  your 
right,  and  wait  till  soup  is  handed  to  you.    By  the  way, 


HABITS  AT  TABLE. 


259 


that  waiting  is  a  most  important  part  of  table  manners, 
and  as  much  as  possible  you  should  avoid  asking  for  any- 
thing or  helping  yourself  from  the  table.  Your  soup  you 
eat  with  a  spoon — I  don't  know  what  else  you  could  eat  it 
with — but  then  it  must  be  one  of  good  size.  Yes,  that  will 
do,  but  I  beg  you  will  not  make  that  odious  noise  in  drink- 
ing your  soup.  It  is  louder  than  a  dog  lapping  water,  and 
a  cat  would  be  quite  genteel  to  it.  Then  you  need  not 
scrape  up  the  plate  in  that  way,  nor  even  tilt  it  to  get  the 
last  drop.  I  shall  be  happy  to  send  you  some  more  j  but  I 
must  just  remark,  that  it  is  not  the  custom  to  take  two  help- 
ings of  soup,  and  it  is  liable  to  keep  other  people  waiting, 
which,  once  for  all,  is  a  selfish  and  intolerable  habit.  But 
don't  you  hear  the  servant  offering  you  sherry  1  I  wish 
you  would  attend,  for  my  servants  have  quite  enough  to  do, 
and  can't  wait  all  the  evening  while  you  finish  that  very 
mild  story  to  Miss  Goggles.  Come,  leave  that  decanter 
alone.  I  had  the  wine  put  on  the  table  to  fill  up  ;  the 
servant  will  hand  it  directly,  or,  as  we  are  a  small  party,  I 
will  tell  you  to  help  yourself,  but,  pray,  do  not  be  so  officious. 
(There,  I  have  sent  him  some  turbot  to  keep  him  quiet.  I 
declare  he  cannot  make  up  his  mind.)  You  are  keeping 
my  servant  again,  sir.  Will  you,  or  will  you  not,  do  turbot  ? 
Don't  examine  it  in  that  way ;  it  is  quite  fresh,  I  assure  you, 
take  or  decline  it.  Ah,  you  take  it,  but  that  is  no  reason 
why  you  should  take  up  a  knife  too.  Fish,  I  repeat,  must 
never  be  touched  with  a  knife.  Take  a  fork  in  the  right, 
and  a  small  piece  of  bread  in  the  left  hand.  Good,  but —  % 
Oh  !  that  is  atrocious  ;  of  course  you  must  not  swallow  the 
bones,  but  you  should  rather  do  so  than  spit  them  out  in 
that  way.  Put  up  your  napkin  like  this,  and  land  the 
said  bone  on  your  plate.  Don't  rub  your  bread  in  the 
sauce,  my  good  man,  nor  go  progging  about  after  the 
shrimps  or  oysters  therein.  Oh  !  how  horrid ;  I  declare 
your  mouth  was  wide  open  and  full  of  fish.  Small  pieces,  I 
beseech  you  ;  and  once  for  all,  whatever  you  eat,  keep  your 
mouth  shut,  and  never  attempt  to  talk  with  it  ML 


260 


MANNERS,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 


So  now  you  have  got  a  pate.  Surely  you  are  not  taking 
two  on  your  plate.  There  is  plenty  of  dinner  to  come,  and 
one  is  quite  enough.  Oh  !  dear  me,  you  are  incorrigible. 
What  !  a  knife  to  cut  that  light,  brittle  pastry  ?  No,  nor 
ringers,  never.  Nor  a  spoon — almost  as  bad.  Take  your 
fork,  sir,  your  fork  ;  and  now  you  have  eaten,  oblige  me  by 
wiping  your  mouth  and  moustache  with  your  napkin,  for  there 
is  a  bit  of  the  pastry  hanging  to  the  latter,  and  looking  very 
disagreeable.  Well,  you  can  refuse  a  dish  if  you  like.  There 
is  no  positive  necessity  for  you  to  take  venison  if  you  don't 
want  it.  But,  at  any  rate,  do  not  be  in  that  terrific  hurry. 
You  are  not  going  off  by  the  next  train.  Wait  for  the 
sauce  and  wait  for  vegetables  ;  but  whether  you  eat  them 
or  not,  do  not  begin  before  everybody  else.  Surely  you  must 
take  my  table  for  that  of  a  railway  refreshment-room,  for 
you  have  finished  before  the  person  I  helped  first.  Fast 
eating  is  bad  for  the  digestion,  my  good  sir,  and  not  very 
good  manners  either.  What !  are  you  trying  to  eat  meat 
with  a  fork  alone  1  Oh  !  it  is  sweetbread,  I  beg  your 
pardon,  you  are  quite  right.  Let  me  give  you  a  rule, — 
Everything  that  can  be  cut  without  a  knife,  should  be  cut 
with  a  fork  alone.  Eat  your  vegetables  therefore  with  a 
fork.  No,  there  is  no  necessity  to  take  a  spoon  for  peas  ; 
a  fork  in  the  right  hand  will  do.  'What !  did  I  really  see 
you  put  your  knife  into  yonr  mouth  1  Then  I  must  give 
you  up.  Once  for  all,  and  ever,  the  knife  is  to  cut,  not  to 
help  with.  Pray,  do  not  munch  in  that  noisy  manner ; 
chew  your  food  well,  but  softly.  Eat  slowly.  Have  you 
not  heard  that  Napoleon  lost  the  battle  of  Leipsic  by  eating 
too  fast  1  It  is  a  fact  though.  His  haste  caused  indigestion, 
which  made  him  incapable  of  attending  to  the  details  of 
the  battle.  You  see  you  are  the  last  person  eating  at  table. 
Sir,  I  will  not  allow  you  to  speak  to  my  servants  in  that 
way.  If  they  are  so  remiss  as  to  oblige  you  to  ask  for 
anything,  do  it  gently,  and  in  a  low  tone,  and  thank  a 
servant  just  as  much  as  you  would  his  master.  Ten  to  one 
he  is  as  good  a  man  j  and  because  he  is  your  inferior  in 


HABITS  AT  TABLE. 


261 


position,  is  the  very  reason  you  should  treat  him  cour- 
teously. Oh  !  it  is  of  no  use  to  ask  me  to  take  wine  ;  far 
from  pacifying  me,  it  will  only  make  me  more  angry,  for  I 
tell  you  the  custom  is  quite  gone  out,  except  in  a  few 
country  villages,  and  at  a  mess-table.  Nor  need  you  ask 
the  lady  to  do  so.  However,  there  is  this  consolation,  if 
you  should  ask  any  one  to  take  wine  with  you,  he  or  she 
cannot  refuse,  so  you  have  your  own  way.  Perhaps  next 
you  will  be  asking  me  to  hob  and  nob,  or  trinquer  in  the 
French  fashion  with  arms  encircled.  Ah  !  you  don't  know, 
perhaps,  that  when  a  lady  trinques  in  that  way  with  you,  you 
have  a  right  to  finish  off  with  a  kiss.  Very  likely,  indeed, 
in  England  !  But  it  is  the  custom  in  familiar  circles  in 
France,  but  then  we  are  not  Frenchmen.  Will  you  attend 
to  your  lady,  sir  1  You  did  not  come  merely  to  eat,  but  to 
make  yourself  agreeable.  Don't  sit  as  glum  as  the  Memnon 
at  Thebes ;  talk  and  be  pleasant.  Now,  you  have  some 
pudding.  No  knife — no,  no.  A  spoon  if  you  like,  but 
better  still,  a  fork.  Yes,  ice  requires  a  spoon  ;  there  is  a 
small  one  handed  you,  take  that. 

Say  "  no."  That  is  the  fourth  time  wine  has  been  handed 
to  you,  and  I  am  sure  you  have  had  enough.  Decline  this 
time  if  you  please.  Decline  that  dish  too.  Are  you  going 
to  eat  of  everything  that  is  handed  1  I  pity  you  if  you  do. 
No,  you  must  not  ask  for  more  cheese,  and  you  must  eat  it 
with  your  fork.  Break  the  rusk  with  your  fingers.  Good. 
You  are  drinking  a  glass  of  old  port.  Do  not  quaff  it  down 
at  a  gulp  in  that  way.  Never  drink  a  whole  glassful  of 
anything  at  once. 

Well,  here  is  the  wine  and  dessert.  Take  whichever 
wine  you  like,  but  remember  you  must  keep  to  that,  and  not 
change  about.  Before  you  go  up  stairs  I  will  allow  you  a 
glass  of  sherry  after  your  claret,  but  otherwise  drink  of  one 
wine  only.  You  don't  mean  to  say  you  are  helping  yourself 
to  wine  before  the  ladies.  At  least  offer  it  to  the  one  next  to 
you,  and  then  pass  it  on,  gently,  not  with  a  push  like  that. 
Do  not  drink  so  fast ;  you  will  hurry  me  in  passing  the 


/ 

262  MANNERS,  CARRIAGE,  AND  HABITS. 

decanters,  if  I  see  that  your  glass  is  empty.  You  need  not 
eat  dessert  till  the  ladies  are  gone,  but  offer  them  whatever 
is  nearest  to  you.  And  now  they  are  gone,  draw  your  chair 
near  mine,  and  I  will  try  and  talk  more  pleasantly  to  you. 
You  will  come  out  admirably  at  your  next  dinner  with  all 
my  teaching.  What !  you  are  excited,  you  are  talking 
loud  to  the  colonel.  Nonsense.  Come  and  talk  easily  to  me 
or  to  your  nearest  neighbour.  There,  don't  drink  any  more 
wine,  for  I  see  you  are  getting  romantic.  You  oblige  me 
to  make  a  move.  You  have  had  enough  of  those  walnuts  ; 
you  are  keeping  me,  my  dear  sir.  So  now  to  coffee  (one 
cup)  and  tea,  which  I  beg  you  will  not  pour  into  your 
saucer  to  cool.  Well,  the  dinner  has  done  you  good,  and 
me  too.  Let  us  be  amiable  to  the  ladies,  but  not  too 
much  so. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 


THE  CARRIAGE  OP  LADIES. 

"  To  be  civil  with  ease,"  it  has  been  well  remarked,  con- 
stitutes good  breeding.  The  English,  it  is  added,  have  not 
les  manieres  prevenantes ;  "  when  they  want  to  be  civil, 
they  are  ashamed  to  get  it  out."  Since  the  manners  are 
generally  formed  for  good  or  for  bad  before  thirty — 
although  they  may  improve  or  deteriorate  after  that  age — it 
is  to  the  young  that  a  few  admonitions  should  be  offered. 

"  To  the  young  ?"  The  young  are  perfect  now-a-days  ! 
Ours  is  the  age  of  self-assertion.  "  I  shall  be  surprised  at 
any  one  who  can  point  out  a  single  defect  in  my  daughters," 
says  a  well-satisfied  mamma.  "  Teach  us  I "  respond  the 
young  ladies  in  a  chorus,  "what  does  the  creature  mean ?" 
"  My  dears,"  murmurs  a  tremulous  voice  from  the  other 
end  of  the  room,  grandmamma's  corner,  "  dont  say  that ; 
in  my  younger  days  it  was  the  fashion  for  young  ladies,  if 
they  were  not  really  humble  and  timid,  to  appear  so.  I 
never  came  into  a  room  as  you,  Arabella,  do,  as  if  I  could 
walk  over  every  one,  and  didn't  mind  ;  nor  crept  in,  Helen, 
like  you,  as  if  you  had  been  doing  something  in  the  passage 
you  were  ashamed  of ;  nor  plumped  down  into  a  chair  like 

you,  Sophia,  nor   ."     Here  they  all  interrupt  poor 

grandmamma  with  a  loud,  simultaneous  laugh,  for  she  is 
certainly  quite  out  of  date,  and  knows  nothing  of  the 
matter. 

She  might  have  laid  down  immutable  rules  for  good 
breeding ;  she  might  have  said,  with  the  great  Lord  Chat- 
263 


264 


THE  CARRIAGE  OP  LADIES. 


ham,  who  probably  was  the  best-bred  man  of  his  time,  that 
"  politeness  is  benevolence  in  trifles  with  Rochefoucault, 
"  that  it  is  the  mind  that  forms  the  manners  but  who 
would  have  listened  to  her  1  Arabella  would  have  called 
out,  "  Who  cares  for  such  old  fogrums  now  f '  and  Helen 
have  added,  that  she  thought  Lord  Chesterfield  and  "  all 
that  humbug  about  manners  quite  a  sell." 

Yes,  it  is  true  ;  nous  avons  change  tout  cela.  Except  in 
the  very  highest  classes,  where  politeness  and  a  good  car- 
riage are  taught  from  infancy — the  higher  classes  being 
more  retentive  of  old  forms  than  any  others  ;  except  there, 
where  what  is  called  the  "  old  school"  has  not  died  out,  it  is 
now  not  only  allowable,  but  even  thought  clever,  to  be  loud, 
positive,  and  rapid  ;  to  come  into  the  room  like  a  whirlwind, 
carrying  all  before  you ;  to  look  upon  every  one  else  as 
inferiors,  with  the  idea  that  it  enforces  that  conviction  ;  to 
have  your  own  set  of  opinions  and  ideas,  without  the  least 
reference  to  what  others  think ;  and  to  express  them  in 
terms  which  would  have  been  far  better  comprehended  in 
the  stable  than  by  a  company  of  ladies  and  gentlemen  some 
twenty  years  ago.  Even  in  the  highest  classes,  these 
watering-place  manners — so  let  us  call  them — are  on  the 
increase,  but  only  amongst  a  certain  set,  who  give  the  tone 
to  a  set,  emulating  their  merits,  below  them. 

It  is  as  well  to  suggest  to  the  young,  "to  be  early, 
what  they  will,  in  later  life,  wish  they  had  always  been." 
Unhappily  those  who  compose  society  are  prone  to  borrow 
their  ideas  from  the  class  above  them,  and  do  not  think  for 
themselves.  Melissa,  the  attorney's  daughter,  catches  up 
a  few  words  of  slang  from  the  county  member's  daughter  at 
the  last  races,  and  thinks  it  pretty  to  use  those  phrases 
vigorously.  Philippa,  the  good  old  rector's  favourite  child, 
hears  Lady  Elizabeth  contradict  her  mamma,  and  takes 
the  same  cue  herself,  as  the  certainty  of  doing  the  right 
thing.  Modesty  and  simplicity,  the  offspring  of  reverence, 
dare  not  show  their  faces,  and  are  voted  "  slow." 

Since  language  is  the  exponent  of  character,  it  is  necessary 


ON  FIRST  INTRODUCTION. 


265 


to  refer  to  its  abuse,  as  if  it  does  not  in  all  cases  actually  show 
a  vulgar  and  pretentious  mind,  it  is  apt  to  render  it  so. 

An  agreeable,  modest,  and  dignified  bearing  is,  in  the 
younger  period  of  a  woman's  existence,  almost  like  a  por- 
tion to  her.  Whatever  may  be  the  transient  tone  and 
fashion  of  the  day,  that  which  is  amiable,  graceful,  and 
true  in  taste,  will  always  please  the  majority  of  the  world. 
A  young  lady,  properly  so  called,  should  not  require  to 
have  allowances  made  for  her.  Well  brought  up,  her 
address  should  be  polite  and  gentle,  and  it  will,  soon  after 
her  introduction  to  society,  become  easy  "to  be  civil  with 
ease."  Let  us  repeat  the  golden  rule,  it  should  be  the 
guidance  to  the  minor's  morals  of  society.  On  first  being 
introduced  to  any  stranger,  there  is  no  insincerity  in  the 
display  of  a  certain  pleasure.  We  are  advised  by  Wilber- 
force  to  give  our  good-will,  at  first,  on  leasehold.  To  the 
elder,  a  deferential  bend  or  curtsey,  though  curtsies  are 
now  unfashionable,  marks  the  well  brought  up  girl.  She 
must  not  receive  her  new  acquaintance  with  a  hysteric 
laugh,  such  as  I  have  seen  whole  families  prone  to  ;  neither 
must  she  look  heavy,  draw  down  her  mouth,  and  appear 
as  if  she  did  not  care  for  her  new  acquaintance  ;  nor  must 
she  look  at  once  over  the  dress  of  her  victim  (in  that  case) 
as  if  taking  an  inventory  of  it ;  nor  appear  hurried,  as 
if  glad  to  get  away  on  the  first  break  in  the  conversa- 
tion. She  must  give  a  due  attention,  or  reasonable  time 
to  perfect  the  introduction,  to  a  certain  extent.  Volubility 
is  to  be  avoided ;  to  overpower  with  a  volley  of  words 
is  more  cruel  than  kind ;  the  words  should  be  gently 
spoken,  not  drawled,  and  the  voice  loud  enough  to  be 
caught  easily,  but  always  in  an  undertone  to  the  power  of 
voice  allotted  by  nature.  Some  persons  appear  to  go  to  the 
very  extent,  and  deafen  you  for  all  other  sounds  ;  they  may 
speak  the  words  of  wisdom,  but  you  wish  them  dumb. 
Others  mumble  so  that  you  are  forced  continually  to  express 
your  total  inability  to  follow  the  drift  of  their  remarks  ; 
Others  drawl  so  that  you  feel  that  life  is  not  long  enough 
2i 


266 


THE  CARRIAGE  OF  LADIES. 


for  such  acquaintance.  All  these  are  habits  to  be  con- 
quered in  youth. 

Avoid,  especially,  affectation.  It  was  once  in  fashion. 
Some  ladies  put  it  on  with  their  dresses ;  others,  by  a.  long 
practice,  were  successful  in  making  it  habitual.  It  became 
what  was  called  their  manner.  Sophia  has  a  manner ;  it 
is  not  affectation,  "  it  is  her  manner,  only  manner."  Affec- 
tation has  long  ceased  to  "be  the  fashion,  and  like  many 
other  bygone  peculiarities,  one  sees  it  only  in  shops. 

There  is  a  way  also  of  looking  that  must  be  regulated 
in  the  young.  The  audacious  stare  is  odious ;  the  sly, 
oblique,  impenetrable  look  is  unsatisfactory.  Softly  and 
kindly  should  the  eyes  be  raised  to  those  of  the  speaker, 
and  only  withdrawn  when  the  speech,  whatever  it  may  be, 
is  concluded.  Immediate  intimacy  and  a  familiar  manner 
are  worse  than  the  glum  look  with  which  some  young 
ladies  have  a  habit  of  regarding  their  fellow-mortals. 
There  is  also  a  certain  dignity  of  manners  necessary  to 
mal^e  even  the  most  superior  persons  respected.  This  dig- 
nity can  hardly  be  assumed  ;  it  cannot  be  taught ;  it  must 
be  the  result  of  intrinsic  qualities,  aided  by  a  knowledge  very 
much  overlooked  in  modern  education — "  the  knowledge 
how  to  behave."  It  is  distinct  from  pretension,  which  is 
about  the  worst  feature  of  bad  manners,  and  creates  nothing 
but  disgust.  A  lady  should  be  equal  to  every  occasion. 
Her  politeness,  her  equanimity,  her  presence  of  mind,  should 
attend  her  to  the  court  and  to  the  cottage. 

Neither  should  private  vexations  be  allowed  to  act  upon 
her  manners,  either  in  her  own  house  or  in  those  of  others. 
If  unfit  for  society,  let  her  refrain  from  entering  it.  If  she 
enters  it,  let  her  remember  that  every  one  is  expected  to 
add  something  to  the  general  stock  of  pleasure  or  improve- 
ment. The  slight  self-command  required  by  good  society 
is  often  beneficial  both  to  the  temper  and  spirits. 

One  great  discredit  to  the  present  day  is  the  "  fast  young 
lady."  She  is  the  hoyden  of  the  old  comedies,  without  the 
indelicacy  of  that  character.    An  avowed  flirt,  she  does  not 


THE  FAST  YOUNG  LADY. 


267 


scruple  to  talk  of  her  conquests,  real  or  imaginary.  You 
may  know  her  by  her  phrases.  She  talks  of  "  the  men," 
of  such  and  such  "  a  charmer."  She  does  not  mind,  but 
rather  prefers  sitting  with  "  the  men"  when  they  are 
smoking ;  she  rides  furiously,  and  plays  billiards.  But  it 
is  in  her  marked  antagonism  to  her  own  sex  that  the  fast 
young  lady  is  perceptible.  She  shuts  up  her  moral  percep- 
tions, and  sees  neither  beauty  nor  talent  in  her  own  sex. 
With  all  this  she  is  often  violently  confident,  and  calls  all 
idiots  who  differ  from  her  in — I  can  scarcely  say  her 
opinions — but  rather  her  prejudices. 

By  degrees,  the  assumption  of  assurance  which  has  had 
its  source  in  bad  taste,  becomes  real ;  a  hard  blase  look  ;  a 
free  tongue  ;  and,  above  all,  the  latitude  of  manners  shown 
to  her  by  the  other  sex,  and  allowed  by  her,  show  that  the 
inward  characteristics  have  followed  the  outward,  and  that 
she  is  become  insensible  to  all  that  she  has  lost  of  feminine 
charm,  and  gained  in  effrontery.  For  the  instant  a  woman 
loses  the  true  feminine  type,  she  parts  with  half  her  influ- 
ence. The  a  fast  girl"  is  flattered,  admired  openly,  but 
secretly  condemned.  Many  a  plain  woman  has  gained  and 
kept  a  heart  by  being  merely  womanly  and  gentle.  In  one 
respect,  however,  the  fast  young  lady  may  console  herself ; 
her  flirtations  are  as  fearless  as  her  expressions  ;  they  do 
little  harm  to  any  but  herself.  Broken  hearts  have  not 
to  turn  reproachfully  to  loud,  high-spirited,  overbearing 
women,  "  jolly  girls,"  as  they  are  styled ;  "  chaff"  in  which 
they  delight  as  often  offends  as  amuses.  To  gain  an 
empire  over  the  affections  of  others,  there  must  be  somewhat 
of  sentiment  or  sympathy  in  the  nature  of  woman.  Your 
loud,  boastful,  positive  young  lady  will  never  be  remem- 
bered with  a  soft  interest,  unless  there  be,  perchance,  some 
soft  touch  in  her  that  redeems  her  from  hardness. 

With  regard  to  flirtation,  it  is  difficult  to  draw  a  limit 
where  the  predilection  of  the  moment  becomes  the  more 
tender  and  serious  feeling,  and  flirtation  sobers  into  a  more 
honourable  form  of  devoted  attention. 


268 


THE  CARRIAGE  OF  LADIES. 


We  all  dread  for  our  daughters  imprudent  and  harassing 
attachments  ;  let  it  not,  however,  be  supposed  that  long 
practised  flirtations  are  without  their  evil  effects  on  the 
character  and  manners.  They  excite  and  amuse,  but  they 
also  exhaust  the  spirit.  They  expose  women  to  censure  and  to 
misconstruction  ;  that  is  their  least  evil  ;  they  destroy  the 
charm  of  her  manners  and  the  simplicity  of  her  heart. 
Yet  the  fast  young  lady  clings  to  flirtation  as  the  type  of 
her  class ;  the  privilege  of  that  social  free-masonry  which 
enables  one  flirt  to  discover  and  unkennel  another.  She 
glories  in  number.  Where  a  rival  has  slain  her  thousands, 
she  has  overthrown  her  tens  of  thousands.  She  forgets 
that,  with  every  successive  flirtation,  one  charm  after  another 
disappears,  like  the  petals  from  a  fading  rose,  until  all  the 
deliciousness  of  a  fresh  and  pure  character  is  lost  in  the 
destructive  sport.  On  all  these  points  a  woman  should 
take  a  high  tone  in  the  beginning  of  her  life.  It  is  sure 
to  be  sufficiently  lowered  as  time  goes  on.  She  loses,  too, 
that  sort  of  tact  which  prevents  her  from  discerning  when 
she  has  gone  too  far,  and  the  "  fast  young  lady"  becomes 
the  hardened  and  practised  flirt,  against  whom  all  men  are 
on  their  guard. 

It  is  true  that,  in  comparing  the  present  day  with  former 
times,  we  must  take  into  account,  when  we  praise  the 
models  of  more  chivalric  days,  that  we  know  only  the  best 
specimens  ;  the  interior  life  of  the  middle  classes  is  veiled 
from  us  by  the  mist  of  ages.  Yet  it  is  to  be  deduced  from 
biography,  as  well  as  from  the  testimony  of  poets  and 
dramatists,  that  there  was,  before  the  Restoration,  a  sort 
of  halo  around  young  women  of  delicacy  and  good  breeding, 
owing,  perhaps,  in  part,  to  the  more  retired  lives  that  they 
led,  but  more  to  the  remnants  of  that  fast-departing  senti- 
ment of  chivalrous  respect  which  youth  and  beauty  inspired. 
Then  came  the  upsetting  demoralization  of  the  Restoration, 
when  all  prudent  fathers  kept  their  daughters  from  court, 
and  only  the  bold  and  "  fast "  remained  to  furnish  chro- 
nicles for  De  Grammont  :  we  are  not,  therefore,  to  judge  of 


THE  PRUDE  AND  THE  BLUE-STOCKING.  2G9 

the  young  women  of  England  by  his  pictures.  The  char- 
acter of  English  ladies  rose  again  to  a  height  of  moral 
elevation  during  the  placid  and  well-conducted  rule  ot 
Anne,  and  continued,  as  far  as  related  to  single  women, 
to  be  the  pride  and  boast  of  the  country.  Even  now, 
when  the  reckless  flirtation,  loud  voices,  unamusing  jokes, 
which  are  comprised  under  the  odious  term  "  chaff,"  and  the 
masculine  tastes  of  the  present  day  are  deprecated,  events 
bring  forth  from  time  to  time  such  instances  of  devotion 
and  virtue  as  must  convince  one  that  there  is  no  degeneracy 
in  our  own  countrywomen  on  solid  points.  Few,  indeed, 
are  these  instances,  among  the  class  we  have  described. 
We  must  not  look  for  Florence  Nightingales  and  Miss 
Marshes  among  that  company  of  the  "  fast." 

Contrasted  with  the  fast  young  lady,  comes  forth  the 
prude,  who  sees  harm  in  everything,  and  her  friend  the 
blue-stocking.  You  may  know  the  prude  by  her  stolid 
air  of  resistance  to  mankind  in  general,  and  by  her  patroniz- 
ing manner  to  her  own  sex.  Her  style  of  manner  is,  like 
the  Austrian  policy,  repressive  ;  her  style  of  conversation, 
reprehensive.  She  has  started  in  life  with  an  immense 
conceit  of  her  own  mental  powers  and  moral  attributes,  of 
which  the  world  in  general  is  scarcely  worthy.  Her 
manner  is  indicative  of  this  conviction  ;  and  becomes 
accordingly,  without  her  intending  it,  offensive,  when  she 
believes  herself  to  be  polite. 

The  prude  and  the  pedant  are  often  firm  friends,  each 
adoring  the  other.  The  fast  young  lady  deals  largely  in 
epithets  :  "  Idiot,  dolt,  wretch,  humbug,"  drop  from  her 
lips  ;  but  the  prude  and  her  friend  the  blue-stocking 
permit  themselves  to  use  conventional  phrases  only  ;  their 
notion  of  conversation  is  that  it  be  instructive,  and,  at  the 
same  time,  mystifying,  The  young  blue-stocking  has, 
nevertheless,  large  views  of  the  regeneration  of  society,  and 
emancipation  of  woman  from  her  degrading  inferiority  of 
social  position.  She  speaks  in  measured  phrase  ;  it  is 
like  listening  to  a  book  to  hear  her.    She  is  wrapt  up  in 


270 


THE  CARRIAGE  OP  LADIES. 


Tennyson  and  Browning.  There  is,  in  all  this,  a  great  aim 
at  display,  with  a  self-righteousness  that  is  very  unpleasing. 
Avoid,  therefore,  either  extreme,  and  be  convinced  that  an 
artless  gaiety,  tempered  by  refinement,  always  pleases. 
Every  attempt  to  obtrude  on  a  company  subjects  either  to 
which  they  are  indifferent,  or  of  which  they  are  ignorant, 
is  in  bad  taste. 

"  Man  should  be  taught  as  though  you  taught  him  not, 
And  things  unknown  proposed  as  things  forgot." 

It  was  well  said  by  a  late  eminent  barrister,  that  literature 
in  ladies  should  be  what  onions  ought  to  be  in  cookery  ; 
you  should  perceive  the  flavour,  but  not  detect  the  thing 
itself. 

The  bearing  of  married  women  should  so  far  differ  from 
that  of  the  unmarried,  that  there  should  be  greater  quiet- 
ness and  dignity  ;  a  more  close  adherence  to  forms  ;  and 
an  obvious,  as  well  as  a  real  abandonment  of  the  admira- 
tion which  has  been  received  before  marriage.  All  flirta- 
tion, however  it  may  be  countenanced  by  the  present 
custom  of  society,  should  be  sternly  and  for  ever  put  aside. 
There  is  no  reason  for  conversation  to  be  less  lively,  or 
society  less  agreeable  ;  it  is,  indeed,  likely  to  be  more  so, 
if  flattered  vanity,  which  may  be  wounded  at  any  moment, 
interposes,  not  to  mar  but  to  enhance  enjoyment.  If  a 
young  married  woman  wishes  to  be  respected,  and  there- 
fore happy  in  life,  there  should  be  a  quiet  propriety  of 
manner,  a  dignity  towards  the  male  sex,  which  cannot  be 
mistaken  in  her  for  prudery,  since  it  is  consistent  with  her 
position  and  her  ties.  She  should  change  her  tone,  if  that 
has  been  "  fast ; "  she  should  not  put  herself  on  a  level 
with  young  unmarried  women  of 'her  own  age,  but  should 
influence  and  even  lead  her  youthful  acquaintance  into 
that  style  of  behaviour  which  is  doubtless  much  esteemed 
by  men  of  good  taste.  She  should  rather  discountenance 
the  fast,  but  has  no  need  to  copy  or  to  bring  forward  the 
prude  and  the  blue-stocking.     And  it  behoves  married 


THE  MABRIED  WOMAN. 


271 


Women  to  be  more  especially  guarded  and  sensible  in  their 
conduct,  when  it  is  remembered  how  rapidly  the  demorali- 
zation introduced,  perhaps,  by  our  contiguity  with  France, 
is  extending  in  every  class.  Formerly,  among  trades-people 
and  professional  men,  separations  and  divorces  were  almost 
unheard  of ;  the  vices  that  lead  to  them  were  looked  on 
with  horror  by  the  middle  classes.  But  now,  the  school- 
master runs  away  with  the  wife  of  his  apothecary ;  the 
brewer  does  the  fashionable  with  the  attorney's  wife ;  the 
baker  intrigues  with  the  green-grocer's  hitherto  worthy 
helpmate.  Never,  in  any  time,  have  the  seeds  of  vice  been 
so  scattered  by  the  gale  from  one  condition  of  social  life  to 
another;  and  the  infection  of  this  appalling  wickedness 
has  been  spreading,  as  the  Divorce  Court  proves,  silently, 
but  widely,  for  some  years. 

Every  woman,  however  humble,  even  however  poor,  may 
do  one  thing  for  society.  She  may  set  an  example  :  but 
we  call  loudly  on  those  in  the  higher  walks  of  life  to  do 
so,  and  to  wipe  away  the  reproach  on  Israel. 

In  being  introduced  to  a  new  acquaintance,  there  should 
be  more  dignity  and  a  little  more  distance  in  the  manner 
of  the  married  woman  than  that  of  the  single  lady. 

"When  she  visits,  in  a  morning  call,  let  her  neither  hurry 
off,  after  a  few  moments  of  empty  talk ;  nor  stay  too  long, 
never  considering  the  convenience  of  her  who  receives  her. 
She  should  walk  gently  down  stairs,  not  talking  loud  to 
any  one  as  she  goes.  Never  let  her  apologize  for  not 
having  called  sooner,  unless  positively  necessary ;  such 
apologies  are  vastly  like  affronts. 

In  receiving  guests  the  English  lady  has  much  to  learn 
from  the  French  hostess.  Many  a  time  has  the  visitor  in 
England  been  met  with  symptoms  of  hurry  and  preoccupa- 
tion, remarkably  embarrassing  to  those  who  call ;  or  the 
carriage  is  announced  directly  after  her  arrival,  and  the 
lady  of  the  house  looks  as  if  she  thought  her  friend  ought 
to  go.  Some  under-bred  ladies,  in  country  towns,  look  out 
of  the  window  half  the  time,  or  put  tidy  their  work-boxes, 


272 


THE  CARRIAGE  OF  LADIES. 


making  you  feel  that  you  are  secondary.  As  an  immutable 
law  of  hospitality  and  good-breeding,  a  guest  should  always 
be  the  first  and  sole  object  when  alone  with  you. 

It  is  one  advantage  of  the  French  system  of  having  a 
day  on  which  to  receive  morning  callers,  that  the  lady  of 
the  house  is  ready,  and  willing  to  let  so  many  idlers  into 
her  drawing-room.  In  no  respect  does  the  French  lady 
shine  so  much  as  in  her  reception  of  those  who,  as  she 
appears  to  think,  "  do  her  the  honour  "  to  enter  her  house. 
It  is  this  that  makes  the  difference.  In  England  we  seem 
to  think  we  do  people  an  honour  in  letting  them  cross  our 
thresholds  and  come  up  our  stairs.  The  French  lady 
advances  to  meet  the  ladies,  but  waits  to  receive  the  gentle- 
men. She  has  a  chair  ready  for  every  one,  and  the  rooms 
of  the  fashionable  are  often  full  to  crowding,  yet  no  one  is 
neglected.  Something  civil  (and  "civil  with  ease"),  ap- 
propriate, well-turned,  and  often  gracefully  kind,  is  said  to 
every  one.  The  stranger  or  foreigner  is  not  left  out  of  the 
conversation  previously  going  on  ;  he  or  she  is  not  made 
to  feel  "  you  are  not  one  of  us  ;  the  sooner  you  go  the 
better."  The  conversation  is  soon  general,  though  without 
introductions.  Having  said  all  you  wish,  and  stayed  the 
usual  time,  you  rise,  and  the  lady  follows  you  to  the  door, 
where  a  servant  is  waiting  to  conduct  you  down  stairs  and 
call  your  carnage  into  the  cour.  This  agreeable  accueil 
forms  a  strong  contrast  to  the  ennui  which  a  mal-a-propos 
visit  often  seems  to  produce  in  a  London  drawing-room, 
and  the  evident  despatch  with  which  a  lady  often  rings  the 
bell  to  let  you  out,  often  sitting  down  and  resuming  a  con- 
versation before  you  are  half  across  the  old  and  spacious 
apartment. 

In  regard  to  the  physical  carriage  of  women,  the  graces 
of  an  upright  form,  of  elegant  and  gentle  movements,  and 
of  the  desirable  medium  between  stiffness  and  lounging,  are 
desirable  both  for  married  and  single.  The  same  rules 
and  recommendations  are  applicable  to  both.  Control 
over  the  countenance  is  a  part  of  manners.    As  a  lady 


PHYSICAL  CAEPJAGE. 


273 


enters  a  drawing-room,  she  should  look  for  the  mistress  of 
the  house,  speaking  first  to  her.  Her  face  should  wear  a 
smile  ;  she  should  not  rush  in  head-foremost  ;  a  graceful 
bearing,  a  light  step,  an  elegant  bend  to  common  acquaint- 
ance, a  cordial  pressure,  not  shaking,  of  the  hand  extended 
to  her,  are  all  requisite  to  a  lady.  Let  her  sink  gently  into 
a  chair,  and,  on  formal  occasions,  retain  her  upright  posi- 
tion ;  neither  lounge  nor  sit  timorously  on  the  edge  of  her 
seat.  Her  feet  should  scarcely  be  shown,  and  not  crossed. 
She  must  avoid  sitting  stiffly,  as  if  a  ramrod  were  introduced 
within  the  dress  behind,  or  stooping.  Excepting  a  very 
small  and  costly  parasol,  it  is  not  now  usual  to  bring  those 
articles  into  a  room.  An  elegantly-worked  handkerchief  is 
carried  in  the  hand,  but  not  displayed  so  muck  as  at  din- 
ner parties.  A  lady  should  conquer  a  habit  of  breathing 
hard,  or  coming  in  very  hot,  or  even  looking  very  blue 
and  shivery.  Anything  that  detracts  from  the  pleasure  of 
society  is  in  bad  taste. 

In  walking  the  feet  should  be  moderately  turned  out,  the 
steps  should  be  equal,  firm,  and  light.  A  lady  may  be 
known  by  her  walk.  The  short,  rapid  steps,  the  shaking 
the  body  from  side  to  side,  or  the  very  slow  gait  which 
many  ladies  consider  genteel,  are  equally  to  be  deprecated. 
Some  persons  are  endowed  with  a  natural  grace  that  wants 
no  teaching ;  where  it  is  not  the  case,  the  greatest  care 
should  be  taken  to  engraft  it  in  childhood,  to  have  a  master, 
not  for  dancing  alone,  but  for  the  even  more  important 
attributes  of  the  lady's  carriage.  To  bow  with  grace,  or 
to  curtsey  when  required,  to  move  across  a  room  well,  are 
points  which  strike  the  attention  almost  unconsciously  to 
ourselves,  and  the  neglect  of  which  often  provokes  com- 
ment even  on  those  in  other  respects  well  qualified  to 
adorn  society. 


2m 


PART  II. 

THE  INDIVIDUAL  IN  INDIVIDUAL  RELATIONS. 


CHAPTER  IX. 

IN  PUBLIC.      THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 

So  now,  my  dear  Sir  and  my1  dear  Madam,  you  are  dressed, 
you  have  your  accomplishments  ready  for  use,  you  know 
how  to  carry  yourself,  what  good  habits  to  attend  to,  what 
bad  ones  to  avoid  ;  you  have  made  a  full  examination  of 
yourself ;  you  feel  confident  that  you  are  "  a  complete  gen- 
tleman," or  "a  charming  woman  you  have  had  lunch, 
you  feel  comfortable  and  happy,  and  you  say  to  yourself, 
"  Let  me  go  out  and  put  these  good  rules  into  practice." 

So  then,  if  you  are  a  man,  you  consult  nobody  but  your 
watch  ;  if  you  are  a  young  lady,  you  consult  mamma,  and 
both  having  obtained  the  requisite  assent,  you,  sir,  issue 
forth  with  your  watch,  and  you,  mademoiselle,  with  your 
chaperon,  and  you  go  to  meet  your  acquaintance  in  the 
walk.  Where  the  said  walk  may  be  is  little  matter.  In 
the  days  of  the  Stuarts,  you  would  have  repaired  to  the 
transepts  of  old  St.  Paul's,  then  the  fashionable  promenade. 
In  a  later  reign  you  would  have  turned  your  steps  to  the 
"  Mall,"  and  met  Beau  Tibbs  there  in  all  his  glory.  Now, 
if  you  live  in  London,  you  make  for  Rotten  Row  ;  if  in  a 
watering-place,  for  the  Promenade  or  the  Parade,  or  bref, 
whatever  may  be  the  spot  chosen  for  the  gay  peacocks  to 
strut  in. 
274 


THE  SALUTE. 


275 


You  have  not  been  there  two  minutes  before  you  meet 
somebody  you  know.  But  that  is  a  very  vague  term  ;  for 
you  may  know  people  in  almost  a  dozen  different  ways. 
First,  then,  you  know  them  slightly,  and  wish  to  recognise 
them  slightly.  Your  course  is  simple  enough.  If  you  are 
a  lady,  you  have  the  privilege  of  recognising  a  gentleman. 
You  wish  to  do  so,  because  there  is  no  reason  that  you 
should  not  be  polite  to  him.  So  when  you  come  quite  near 
to  him  and  see  that  he  is  looking  at  you,  you  bow  slightly, 
and  pass  on.  There  are  one  or  two  things  to  be  avoided 
even  in  this.  You  must  not,  however  short-sighted,  raise 
your  glasses  and  stare  at  him  through  them  before  you  bow ; 
but  as  it  is  very  awkward  for  a  lady  to  bow  by  mistake  to 
a  gentleman  she  does  not  know,  you  should  look  at  him 
well  before  you  come  up  to  him.  If  you  are  a  man,  on  the 
other  hand,  and  you  meet  *a  lady  whom  you  know  slightly, 
you  must  wait  till  she  bows  to  you.  You  then  lift  your 
hat  quite  off  your  head  with  the  hand,  whichever  it  may 
be,  which  is  farther  from  the  person  you  meet.  You  lift 
it  off  your  head,  but  that  is  all ;  you  have  no  need,  as  they 
do  in  France,  to  show  the  world  the  inside  thereof ;  so 
you  immediately  replace  it.  In  making  this  salute,  you 
bend  your  body  slightly.  If,  which  should  rarely  occur, 
you  happen  to  be  smoking,  you  take  your  cigar  from  your 
mouth  with  the  other  hand ;  so  too,  if' you  have  your  hands 
in  your  pockets,  which  I  hope  you  will  not,  you  take  them 
out  before  bowing.  To  neglect  these  little  observances 
would  show  a  want  of  respect. 

But  suppose  it  is  a  person  whom  you  know  rather  more  than 
slightly,  and  to  whom  you  may  speak.  Well,  then,  no  man 
may  stop  to  speak  to  a  lady  until  she  stops  to  speak  to  him. 
The  lady,  in  short,  has  the  right  in  all  cases  to  be  friendly 
or  distant.  Women  have  not  many  rights ;  let  us  grace- 
•fully  concede  the  few  that  they  possess.  You  raise  your 
hat  all  the  same,  but  you  do  not  shake  hands  unless  the 
lady  puts  out  hers,  which  you  may  take  as  a  sign  of  parti- 
cular good-will.    In  this  case  you  must  not  stop  long,  but 


276 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


the  lady  again  has  the  right  to  prolong  the  interview  at 
pleasure.  It  is  she,  not  you,  who  must  make  the  move 
onwards.  If  she  does  this  in  the  middle  of  a  conversation, 
it  is  a  proof  that  she  is  willing  that  you  should  join  her, 
and  if  you  have  no  absolute  call  to  go  your  way,  you  ought 
to  do  so.  But  if  she  does  so  with  a  slight  inclination,  it  is 
to  dismiss  you,  and  you  must  then  again  bow  and  again 
raise  your  hat. 

If,  however,  you  are  old  acquaintance  without  any  quar- 
rel between,  you  should,  whether  gentleman  or  lady,  at  once 
stop  and  give  the  hand  and  enter  into  conversation.  The 
length  of  this  conversation  must  depend  on  the  place  where 
you  meet.  If  in  the  streets,  it  should  be  very  short ;  if  in 
a  regular  promenade,  it  may  be  longer ;  but  as  a  rule,  old 
friends  do  better  to  turn  round  and  join  forces.  On  the 
other  hand,  if  you  are  walking  with  a  man  whom  your  lady 
friend  does  not  know,  you  must  not  stop ;  still  less  so,  if 
she  is  walking  with  a  lady  or  gentleman  whom  you  do  not 
know.  If,  however,  a  decided  inclination  is  evinced  by 
either  to  speak  to  the  other,  and  you  so  stop,  the  stranger 
ought  not  to  walk  on,  but  to  stop  also,  and  it  then  behoves 
you  to  introduce  him  or  her.  Such  an  introduction  is 
merely  formal,  and  goes  no  farther. 

Lastly,  let  us  suppose  that  you  want  to  "  cut"  your 
acquaintance.  0  fie  !  Who  invented  the  cut  ?  What  demon 
put  it  into  the  head  of  man  or  woman  to  give  this  mute 
token  of  contempt  or  hatred  ?  I  do  not  know,  but  I  do 
know  that  in  modern  civilised  life,  as  it  goes,  the  cut  is  a 
great  institution.  The  finest  specimen  of  it  which  we  have 
on  record  is  that  of  Beau  Brummell  and  George  rv.  These 
two  devoted  friends  had  quarrelled,  as  devoted  friends  are 
wont  to  do,  and  when  they  met  again,  George,  then  Prince, 
was  walking  up  St.  James'  Street  on  the  arm  of  some  com- 
panion, and  Brummell,  dressed  to  perfection,  was  coming* 
down  it  on  that  of  another.  The  two  companions  happened 
to  know  one  another,  and  all  four  stopped.  George  the 
Prince  was  determined  to  ignore  George  the  Beau's  exist- 


THE  CUT. 


277 


ence,  and  talked  to  his  companion  without  appearing  to  see 
him.  George  the  Beau  expected  this,  but  was  still  morti- 
fied. They  all  bowed  and  moved  away ;  but  before  the 
Prince  was  out  of  hearing,  Brummell  said  to  his  companion 
in  a  loud  voice,  "  Who's  your  fat  friend  ?"  It  is  well  known 
that  the  Kegent  grieved  at  that  time  most  bitterly  over  his 
growing  corpulency,  and  the  Beau  was  avenged. 

But  my  advice  to  anybody  who  wishes  to  cut  an  ac- 
quaintance is,  most  emphatically,  Don't.  In  the  first  place, 
it  is  vulgar,  and  a  custom  which  the  vulgar  affect.  It  is 
pretentious,  and  seems  to  say,  "  You  are  not  good  enough 
for  me  to  know."  All  pretension  is  vulgar.  In  the  next 
place,  it  does  the  cutter  as  much  injury  as  the.  cuttee.  The 
latter,  if  worthless,  revenges  himself  by  denouncing  the 
former  as  stuck  up,  impolite,  ill-bred  ;  if  himself  well-bred, 
he  says  nothing  about  it,  but  inwardly  condemns  and  de- 
spises you.  Now,  in  a  world  where  love  is  at  a  premium, 
and  even  respect  is  not  cheap,  it  is  a  pity  to  add,  by  foolish 
pride,  to  the  number  of  those  who  dislike  you  ;  but,  if  there 
were  no  other  consideration,  it  is  extremely  unchristian,  to 
say  the  least  of  it.  It  is  a  giving  of  offence  ;  and  woe  to 
him  by  whom  offences  come.  It  is  the  consequence  either 
of  pride  or  of  judging  your  neighbour,  both  of  which  are 
bad  faults.  Lastly,  it  raises  up  for  ever  between  two  people 
a  barrier  which  neither  years  nor  regret  can  surmount. 
It  is  a  silent  but  desperate  quarrel,  but,  unlike  other  quar- 
rels, it  is  never  followed  by  a  reconciliation.  The  Christian 
law  used  to  be,  "  If  you  have  aught  against  your  brother, 
go  and  expostulate  with  him."  The  modern  social  law — 
not,  however,  the  law  of  good  society — makes  an  amend- 
ment :  "Do  not  take  the  trouble  to  go  to  him — it  will  do 
no  good — but  cut  him  dead  when  you  meet,  and  so  get  rid 
of  him  for  ever."  Yes,  "  dead  !"  Dead,  indeed  ;  for  all  the 
love,  all  the  forgiveness  there  might  flow  between  you,  he 
is  as  good  as  dead  to  you,  and,  what  is  more,  you  have 
killed  him. 

But  the  cut  is  often  a  silly  measure,  and  far  too  promptly 


278 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


resorted  to.  At  Bath  you  have  known  the  Simpkinses,  and 
even  been  intimate  with  them,  but  in  Town  you  take  it  into 
your  head  they  are  "  inferior ;"  you  meet  and  cut  them. 
Well,  a  fortnight  later,  you  find  that  Lady  So-and-so  is 
particularly  partial  to  the  Simpkinses.  "  Do  you  know 
those  charming  girls  f  she  asks,  and  how  foolish  you  then 
feel.  Or  again,  Captain  Mactavish  is  your  best  and  most 
amusing  friend ;  slander  whispers  in  your  ear,  "  Mactavish 
was  cashiered  for  fraudulent  transactions."  You  go  out, 
happen  to  meet,  and  cut  him  dead.  The  next  day  the 
truth  comes  out.  It  is  another  Mactavish  who  was  cashiered, 
and  your  friend  is  a  model  of  honour.  "What  can  you  do  ? 
You  cannot  tell  him  you  made  a  mistake.  It  would  then 
be  his  turn  to  take  a  high  hand.  "  No,  no !"  says  he, 
when  you  offer  to  renew  the  friendship,  "  if  you  could  so 
soon  believe  evil  of  me,  you  are  not  the  man  for  Mactavish. 
Besides,  you  cut  me  yesterday,  and  I  can  forgive  everything 
but  a  cut."  Or  again,  papa  is  alarmed  at  the  attentions  of 
young  Montmorency.  "  A  penniless  boy  making  love  to 
Matilda  !"  he  cries  indignantly,  and  orders  the  said  Matilda 
and  her  mamma  to  cut  him.  Montmorency,  in  pique,  runs 
off  to  Miss  Smith,  offers,  and  marries  her.  It  is  then  dis- 
covered that  Montmorency  has  a  bachelor  uncle  whose 
whole  fortune  will  come  to  him,  and  Matilda  is  miserable. 

But  there  are  some  cases  in  which  a  cut  becomes  the 
sole  means  of  ridding  one's-self  of  annoyance,  and  with 
young  ladies  especially  so.  A  girl  has  no  other  means  of 
escaping  from  the  familiarity  of  a  pushing  and  thick-skinned 
man.  She  cannot  always  be  certain  that  the  people  intro- 
duced to  her  are  gentlemen  ;  pleased  with  them  at  first, 
she  gives  them  some  encouragement,  till  some  occasion  or 
other  lays  bare  the  true  character  of  her  new  acquaintance. 
What  is  she  to  do  1  He  requires  so  little  to  encourage  him, 
that  even  a  recognition  would  be  sufficient  to  bring  him  on. 
She  has  nothing  left  but  to  cut  him  dead.  The  cut, 
however,  should  be  positively  the  last  resource.  There  are 
many  ways,  less  offensive  and  more  dignified,  of  showing 


THE  CUT. 


279 


that  you  do  not  wish  for  intimacy  ;  the  stiff  bow  without 
a  smile  is  enough  to  show  a  man  of  any  perception  that  he 
need  not  make  farther  advances  ;  and  as  for  cutting  people 
of  real  or  imaginary  inferiority,  it  is  the  worst  of  vulgarity. 
We  laugh  at  the  silly  pride  of  the  small  dressmaker  who 
declines  to  go  through  the  kitchen  ;  "  Not  accustomed  to 
associate  with  menials,"  she  tells  you,  and  knocks  at  the 
front  door ;  we  smile  at  the  costermonger  who  cannot 
lower  himself  to  recognise  the  crossing-sweeper  ;  and  how 
absurd  to  those  of  a  higher  class  than  our  own  must  the 
Smiths,  whose  father  was  a  physician,  appear,  when  they 
cut  the  Simpkinses,  whose  progenitor  is  only  a  surgeon, 
and  so  on.  But  if  you  have  once  known  people  you 
should  always  know  them,  if  they  have  not  done  anything 
to  merit  indignation.  If  you  have  once  been  familiar  with 
the  Simpkinses,  you  are  not  only  inconsistent  and  vulgar, 
but  you  accuse  yourself  of  former  want  of  perception,  if 
now  you  discover  that  they  are  too  low  for  you  to  know. 

But,  if  a  cut  must  be  made,  let  it  be  done  with  as  little 
offensiveness  as  possible.  Let  the  miserable  culprit  not  be 
tortured  to  death,  or  broken  in  the  social  wheel,  like  a 
Damiens,  however  treasonable  his  offence.  Never,  on  any 
account,  allow  him  to  speak  to  you,  and  then  staring  him 
in  the  face,  exclaim,  "  Sir,  I  do  not  know  you  ! "  or,  as  some 
people,  trying  to  make  rudeness  elegant,  would  say,  "  Sir,  I 
have  not  the  honour  of  your  acquaintance  nor  behead 
him  with  the  fixed  stare  ;  but  rather  let  him  see  that  you 
have  noticed  his  approach,  and  then  turn  your  head  away. 
If  he  is  thick-skinned  or  daring  enough  to  come  up  to  you 
after  that,  bow  to  him  stiffly  and  pass  on.  In  this  way 
you  avoid  insolence,  and  cause  less  of  that  destroyer  of 
good  manners — confusion. 

There  are  some  definite  rules  for  cutting.  A  gentleman 
must  never  cut  a  lady  under  any  circumstances.  An 
unmarried  lady  should  never  cut  a  married  one.  A  ser- 
vant of  whatever  class — for  there  are  servants  up  to 
royalty  itself — should  never  cut  his  master ;  near  relations 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


should  never  cut  one  another  at  all;  and  a  clergyman 
should  never  cut  anybody,  because  it  is  at  best  an 
unchristian  action.  Perhaps  it  may  be  added  that  a 
superior  should  never  cut  his  inferior  in  rank  ;  he  has 
many  other  ways  of  annihilating  him.  Certainly  it  may 
be  laid  down  that  people  holding  temporary  official  rela- 
tions must  waive  their  private  animosities,  and  that  two 
doctors,  for  instance,  however  much  opposed  to  one  another, 
should  never  introduce  the  cut  over  the  bed  of  a  patient. 

I  pass  now  to  a  much  pleasanter  theme,  that  of  saluta- 
tion. I  know  not  when  men  first  discovered  that  some 
sign  was  necessary  to  show  their  good-will  to  one  another. 
Hatred,  the  ugliest  of  all  the  demons  (and  they  are  not 
renowned  for  beauty),  took  a  reserved  seat  early  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  world,  and  the  children  of  Cain  and  Seth,  if 
they  ever  met,  must  have  found  it  necessary  to  hold  out 
some  human  flag  of  truce.  What  this  may  have  been  we 
have  no  records  to  prove,  but  it  is  certain  that  prostration, 
which  made  a  man  helpless  for  the  moment,  was  a  very 
early  form  of  salutation,  and  one  that  has  not  yet  gone  out, 
for  kneeling,  which  is  only  a  simpler  form  of  it,  is  still  pre- 
served in  our  courts.  But  this  was  too  awkward  a  practice 
for  everyday  life,  especially  when  men  gathered  into  cities 
and  met  their  fellow-creatures  daily  in  large  numbers. 
Fancy  a  member  of  Parliament  bobbing  down  on  his 
"  marrow-bones"  whenever  he  met  a  constituent,  or  a 
clergyman  wearing  the  knees  of  his  black  "  limb-covers" 
into  shining  patches  as  he  walked  the  parish  and  met  Tim 
Miles  and  George  Giles  at  every  corner.  The  question  then 
arose  how  to  show  the  same  good-will  without  the  same 
inconvenience,  and  which  of  the  senses  should  be  employed 
in  it.  We  looked  at  the  brute  creation,  which,  in  its  gift  of 
instinct,  seemed  to  have  as  it  were  a  direct  revelation  for 
such  things,  but  found  little  counsel.  Dogs  wagged  their 
tails,  but  their  masters  had  none  to  wag,  except  indeed  among 
the  Niam-Niam,  and  even  with  them  it  is  doubtful  whether 
the  necessary  pliability  exists.  Horses  know  their  friends  by 


ABOUT  SALUTATION.  281 

the  smell,  and  Mr.  Rarey  tells  us  that  we  need  never  fear 
a  horse  which  has  sniffed  us  all  over,  for  the  simple  reason 
that  it  will  no  longer  fear  us.  But  though  it  is  said  you 
may  tell  a  Chinaman,  as  the  ancients  told  an  Iberian,  par 
son  odeur,  and  though  you  may  certainly  recognise  a  mo- 
dern fop  by  his  "  smelling  of  musk  and  insolence,"  yet  it 
does  not  appear  that  there  is  any  perfume  by  which  the 
human  being  can  assure  you  of  his  good  intentions.  The 
prostration  was  therefore  probably  first  followed  by  a  deep 
inclination  of  the  body,  which  we  preserve  faintly  enough 
in  our  modern  bow,  and  which  was  the  recognised  form  of 
worship  in  several  eastern  countries.  Another  modification 
of  prostration,  which  was  preserved  in  this  country  between 
servants  and  masters  till  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century, 
was  that  of  "  making  a  knee,"  as  Ben  Jonson  call  it,  which 
was  nothing  more  than  slightly  bending  one  leg  and  so 
lowering  the  body.  But  these  forms  were  too  much  for  some 
people  and  too  little  for  others.  The  children  of  this  world 
soon  discovered  that  they  were  not  all  children  alike,  and 
made  early  a  marked  distinction  of  persons.  The  salute  fit 
for  a  chieftain  was  much  too  good  for  a  serf,  and  the  serf 
himself  was  not  going  to  make  a  knee  to  a  brother  serf, 
however  much  he  liked  him.  In  fact,  it  became  necessary 
to  distinguish  between  the  amount  of  respect  due  to  posi- 
tion (for  character  soon  lost  its  due  recognition),  and  the 
amount  of  cordiality  due  to  friendship.  Thus  some  form 
of  •inclination  remained  in  use  for  the  salute  of  respect,  and 
thus  the  eye  was  the  sense  there  employed.  The  principle 
of  respect  was  brought  variously  into  practice,  but  in  no 
way  so  prominently  as  that  of  baring  some  part  of  the 
body,  thereby  putting  the  saluter  to  a  temporary  inconveni- 
ence, and  laying  him  open  to  the  attack  of  the  saluted.  In 
one  country  the  shoes  were  taken  off,  in  another  the  head- 
gear, though  St.  Paul's  philosophic,  if  not  very  gallant,  dis- 
tinction relative  to  the  honour  of  a  man  lying  in  his  head, 
and  that  of  a  woman  elsewhere,  would  seem  to  make  the 
Orientals  more  consistent  in  keeping  their  turbans  on  and 
2n 


282 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


taking  off  their  slippers.  In  no  country,  however,  do  we  hear 
of  women  taking  their  bonnets  off,  as  a  salute,  though  in  some 
to  unveil  the  face  was  a  mark  of  great  reverence.  That,  of 
course,  would  depend  on  whether  it  was  a  pretty  face  or  not ; 
but  however  this  may  be,  the  forms  of  salutation  which  have 
been  retained  among  European  nations  are  much  the  same  ; 
the  bow,  namely,  as  a  relic  of  prostration,  and  baring  the 
head,  among  men  ;  while  among  women  the  prostration  was 
kept  up  to  a  much  later  date,  and  the  curtsey,  in  which  the 
knees  were  bowed,  is  not  yet  quite  vanished  from  the  modesty 
of  our  land.  Maid-servants  and  country-wives  retain  it  still. 

But  when  we  come  to  cordiality  we  find  another  sense 
brought  into  action.  Words  were  known  to  be  concealers 
of  thought,  so  that  the  sense  of  hearing  was  out  of  the 
question,  while  smelling  and  tasting  were  unanimously  voted 
brutish  ;  and  those  poets  who  talk  about  "  tasting  the  honey 
of  her  lips,"  are  fitted  to  be  laureates  in  the  cannibal  islands 
rather  than  in  the  British  kingdoms.  There  remained  then 
the  sense  of  touch,  which,  if  not  the  most  delicate,  is  one 
which  the  human  race  particularly  depend  on,  as  our  blind 
children  learn  to  know  even  colours  thereby.  Besides, 
owing  to  the  absence  of  fur  in  our  race,  the  sense  of  touch 
is  more  acute  in  us  than  in  any  other  animals. 

Well,  on  the  touch-and-know  principle,  some  races  im- 
mediately undertook  to  conduce  to  each  other's  comfort  as 
a  token  of  cordiality.  In  the  frost-bitten  regions  of  Lap- 
land, for  instance,  it  is  the  fashion  to  run  up  to  your  friend 
and  rub  his  nose  with  yours.  It  is  a  mute  expression  of  the 
wish  that  his  proboscis  may  not  drop  off  some  cold  morn- 
ing ;  and  indeed  this  custom  must  assist  in  preserving  that 
graceful  feature  from  the  effects  of  frost,  so  that  the  man 
with  the  largest  acquaintance  is  also  likely  to  have  the 
largest  nose.  In  Southern  Africa  again,  where  the  feet 
get  terribly  dry  from  the  heat  of  the  soil,  it  is  the  custom 
to  rub  toes  ;  and  in  some  countiy  or  other,  the  height  of 
elegance  is  to  moisten  the  hand  in  the  most  natural  manner, 
and  smear  your  friend's  face  with  it. 


THE  KISS. 


283 


These  customs,  however,  must  have  had  a  somewhat 
local  appreciation,  and  have  not  received  general  approba- 
tion. There  are  now  two  recognised  modes  of  cordial  salu- 
tation— the  kiss  and  the  shake  of  the  hand.  Whether 
kissing  was  known  in  Paradise,  as  Byron,  who  had  some 
experience  of  it  (kissing,  I  mean,  not  Paradise),  assures  us  : 

"  One  remnant  of  Paradise  still  is  on  earth, 
And  Eden  revives  in  the  first  kiss  of  love  ;" 

we  cannot  stop  to  investigate,  but  that  it  was  a  very  early 
discovery,  those  who  read  their  Bibles  may  find  out.  It  is 
a  beautiful  custom,  an  angelic  custom  ;  I  say  it  without 
blushing,  because  it  was  originally,  and  in  many  countries 
is — let  us  hope  even  in  England — the  most  innocent  thing 
in  the  world.  Certainly,  about  the  period  of  our  own  era, 
the  "  kiss  of  peace"  was  a  mark  of  love  between  men, 
though  in  some  cases  it  was  made  to  serve  the  deadliest 
ends.  It  is  still  in  use  between  men  in  France  and  Ger- 
many. The  parent  kisses  his  grown-up  son  on  the  fore- 
head ;  friends  press  their  lips  to  others'  cheeks ;  brothers 
throw  their  arms  round  one  another's  necks  and  embrace 
like  lovers.  Alack  and  alas  !  for  our  stiff  humanity.  Here 
in  England  it  is  reserved  for  children  and  girls,  and  for 
Minnie  to  stop  my  lips  with  when  I  am  going  to  scold  her. 
Well,  it  is  a  beautiful  old  custom,  all  the  same,  and  if  we 
were  not  so  wicked  in  this  nineteenth  century,  we  should 
have  more  of  it.  In  the  days  of  good  Queen  Bess  it  was 
the  height  of  politeness  to  kiss  your  neighbour's  wife,  and 
our  grandfathers  tell  us  that  on  entering  a  room  they  kissed 
all  the  women  present  as  a  matter  of  course.  This  privi-. 
lege  is  reserved  now  for  Scotch  cousins,  who  make  a  very 
free  use  of  it.  But,  alas  !  this  beautiful  symbol  of  pure  af- 
fection, which  sent  a  thrill  from  warm  lips  through  all  the 
frame,  is  now  become  a  matter  of  almost  shame  to  us.  It  is 
a  deed  to  be  done  behind  the  door,  as  Horace  Smith  hints. 

"  Sydney  Morgan  was  playing  the  organ, 
While  behind  the  vestry  door 
Horace  Twiss  was  snatching  a  kiss 
From  the  lips  of  Hannah  Moore." 


284 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


Poor  Hannah  Moore  !  how  the  very  thought  must  have 
shrivelled  her  up. 

The  kiss  of  mere  respect  was  made  on  the  hand,  a  good 
old  custom  still  retained  in  Germany,  and  among  a  few  old 
beaux  at  home.  Whether  it  was  pure  respect  which  in- 
duced Leicester  often  to  kiss  the  Virgin  Queen  on  her  lips, 
"  which,"  we  are  told,  "  she  took  right  heartily,"  I  cannot 
say  ;  but  at  all  events  in  this  day,  the  kissing  of  the  lips  is 
reserved  for  lovers,  and  should  scarcely  be  performed  in 
public.  But  the  kiss  of  friendship  and  relationship  on  the 
cheeks  or  forehead  is  still  kept  up  a  little,  and  might  be 
much  more  common.  I  like  to  see  a  young  man  kiss  his 
mother  on  her  wrinkled  brow ;  it  shows  "  there  is  no  hum- 
bug about  him."  I  like  to  see  sisters  kiss,  and  old  friends 
when  they  meet  again.  But  I  may  like  what  I  like.  The 
world  is  against  me,  and  as  it  is  a  delicate  subject  I  will 
say  no  more  on  it,  save  only  this, — As  a  general  rule,  this 
act  of  affection  is  excluded  from  public  eyes  in  this  country, 
and  there  are  people  who  are  ashamed  even  to  kiss  a 
brother  or  father  on  board  the  steamer  which  is  to  take 
him  away  for  some  ten  or  twenty  years.  But  then  there 
are  people  in  England  who  are  ashamed  of  showing  any 
feeling,  however  natural,  however  pure.  This  is  a  matter 
in  which  I  would  not  have  etiquette  interfere.  Let  the 
world  say  it  is  rustic,  or  even  vulgar,  to  kiss  your  friends  on 
the  platform  of  a  railway,  before  they  start  or  when  they 
arrive.  It  is  never  vulgar  to  be  loving,  and  love  that  is 
real  love  will  show  itself,  though  there  were  ten  Acts  of 
Parliament  against  it. 

"  A  cold  hand  and  a  warm  heart  "  is  an  old  saw,  which 
may  be  true  for  the  temperature  of  the  skin,  but  is  certainly 
not  so  for  the  mode  of  pressing  it.  A  warm  heart,  I  am 
persuaded,  gives  a  warm  shake  of  the  hand,  and  a  man 
must  be  a  hypocrite,  who  can  shake  yours  heartily,  while 
he  hates  you.  The  hand  is  after  all  the  most  natural  limb 
to  salute  with.  Next  to  those  of  the  lips,  the  nerves  of 
touch  are  most  highly  developed  in  the  fingers,  which  may 


HAND  AND  HEART. 


285 


be  accounted  for  by  the  perpetual  friction  and  irritation  to 
which  they  are  subjected,  for  we  know  that  those  portions 
of  the  skin  are  the  most  ticklish  which  undergo  the  most 
friction.  However  this  may  be,  the  hand  is  the  most 
convenient  member  to  salute  with.  The  toe-rubbing  pro- 
cess, for  instance,  must  subject  one  to  the  risk  of  toppling 
over  in  any  but  a  dignified  manner  ;  "  making  a  knee " 
was  liable  to  be  followed  by  breaking  a  nose,  if  the  balance 
were  not  carefully  preserved,  and  as  for  the  total  prostra- 
tion system,  I  feel  convinced  that  it  must  have  been  given 
up  by  common  consent  after  dinner,  and  by  corpulent  per- 
sonages. But  the  charm  of  the  hand,  as  a  saluting  member, 
lies  in  the  fact  of  its  grasping  power,  which  enables  the 
shaker  to  vary  the  salute  at  pleasure.  The  freemasons 
well  know  this,  and  though  they  begin  the  mysterious  salute 
with  signs  for  the  eye,  they  are  rarely  satisfied  till  they 
have  followed  them  up  by  the  grasp,  which  varies  for 
almost  every  grade,  for  apprentice,  master,  royal  arch, 
knight  templar,  and  all  their  other  absurdities.  My  worthy 
masons,  do  not  suppose  that  you  possess  a  monopoly  of  this 
art.  There  is  as  cunning  a  freemasonry  in  all  society,  and 
the  mode  of  taking,  grasping,  and  shaking  the  hand,  varies 
as  much  according  to  circumstances,  and  even  more,  than 
your  knuckling  system. 

First,  there  is  the  case  where  two  hands  simply  take  hold 
of  one  another.  This  is  the  mode  of  very  shy  people,  and 
of  two  lovers  parting  in  tears  ;  but  then  in  the  one  case  the 
hold  is  brief,  in  the  other  continued.  Next,  there  is  the 
case  where  one  hand  is  laid  clammily  in  the  other,  which 
slightly  presses  the  fingers,  not  going  down  to  the  palm. 
This  is  a  favourite  mode  with  ladies,  especially  young- 
ladies,  towards  slight  acquaintance  ;  but  when  my  heart 
flutters  a  little  for  Mariana's  smile,  I  should  be  piqued  in- 
deed, nay,  shocked,  if  there  were  nothing  more  than  fingers 
laid  in  my  hand,  no  responsive  thumb  to  complete  the 
manoeuvre,  and  when  Sybilla  told  me  she  could  not  love 
me,  and  when  she  would  not  listen,  but  hurried  away  up 


286 


THE  PKOMENADE,  ETC. 


the  terrace  steps,  and  turned  to  give  me  the  last — last 
shake  of  a  hand,  I  have  never  touched  again,  I  cannot  tell 
you  what  of  despair  she  saved  me  in  the  friendly  warmth 
■ — I  do  not  say  affection — with  which  she  wrung  my  hand 
that  passionately  clung  round  hers.  Ah !  Sybilla,  better 
have  left  that  hand  with  me,  have  given  it  me  for  ever, 
than  to  the  wealthy  wig-wearing,  rouged  and  powdered 
bear,  to  whom  they  sold  you  afterwards. 

Next,  there  is  the  terribly  genteel  salute  of  the  underbred 
man,  who  with  a  smirk  on  his  face,  just  touches  the  tips  of 
your  fingers,  as  if  they  were  made  of  glass ;  there  is  the 
blunt  honest  shake  of  the  rough,  who  lays  out  his  hand  with 
the  palm  open  and  the  heart  in  the  hollow  of  it,  stretches 
it  well  out,  and  shakes  and  rattles  the  one  you  put  into  it; 
there  is  the  pouncing  style  of  him  who  affects  but  does  not 
feel  cordiality,  who  brings  the  angle  between  thumb  and 
finger  down  upon  you  like  gaping  shears  ;  there  is  the 
hailing  style  of  the  indifferent  man  who  seems  to  say  to 
your  hand,  "  Come  and  be  shaken  ;"  there  is  the  style  of 
the  man  who  gives  your  hand  one  toss,  as  if  he  were  ring- 
ing the  dinner-bell ;  and  another  bell-ringing  style  is  that 
of  milady,  who  shakes  her  own  hand  from  the  wrist  with 
a  neat  fine  little  movement,  and  does  not  care  whether 
yours  shakes  in  it  or  not ;  there  is  genius  who  clasps  your 
hand  in  both  of  his  and  beams  into  your  face  ;  and  there 
is  love  who  seizes  it  to  press  it  tighter  and  more  tightly, 
and  sends  his  whole  soul  through  the  fingers. 

But  the  styles  are  infinite  ;  there  is  the  mesmeric  style 
where  the  shaker  seems  to  make  a  pass  down  you  before 
getting  at  your  hand ;  there  is  papa's  style,  coming  down 
with  an  open-hand  smack,  that  you  may  hear  half  the 
length  of  Parliament  Street ;  there  is  the  solemn  style, 
where  the  elbow  is  tucked  into  the  side,  like  the  wing  of 
a  trussed  fowl,  and  the  long  fingers  are  extended  with  the 
thumb  in  close  attendance ;  there  is  the  hearty  double- 
knock  style  of  three  rapid  shakes ;  there  is  the  melancholy 
style,  where  the  hand  is  heaved  up  once  or  twice  slowly  and 


HAND-SHAKING. 


287 


lowered  despairingly  ;  there  is  the  adulatory  style,  where  it 
is  raised  towards  the  bent  head  as  if  to  be  inspected ;  there 
is  the  hail-fellow  style,  where  the  arm  is  stretched  out  side- 
ways, and  the  eyes  say,  "  There's  my  hand,  old  boy ! "  Then 
of  styles  to  be  always  avoided,  there  is  the  swinging  style, 
where  your  arm  is  tossed  from  side  to  side ;  there  is  the 
wrenching  style,  by  which  your  knuckles  are  made  to  ache 
for  five  minutes  after;  and  there  is  the  condescending  style, 
where  two  fingers  are  held  out  to  you  as  a  great  honour. 
But,  the  best  style  of  all,  me  judice,  is  the  hearty  single 
clasp,  full-handed,  warm,  momentary,  just  shaken  enough 
to  make  the  gentle  grasp  well  felt  but  not  painful. 

The  etiquette  of  hand-shaking  is  simple.  A  man  has  no 
right  to  take  a  lady's  hand  till  it  is  offered.  It  were  a 
robbery  which  she  would  punish.  He  has  even  less  right 
to  pinch  or  to  retain  it.  Two  ladies  shake  hands  gently  and 
softly.  A  young  lady  gives  her  hand,  but  does  not  shake 
a  gentleman's,  unless  she  is  his  friend.  A  lady  should 
always  rise  to  give  her  hand  ;  a  gentleman,  of  course,  never 
dares  do  so  seated.  On  introduction  in  a  room,  a  married 
lady  generally  offers  her  hand,  a  young  lady  not ;  in  a  ball- 
room, where  the  introduction  is  to  dancing,  not  to  friend- 
ship, you  never  shake  hands ;  and  as  a  general  rule,  an 
introduction  is  not  followed  by  shaking  hands,  only  by  a  bow. 
It  may  perhaps  be  laid  down,  that  the  more  public  the 
place  of  introduction,  the  less  hand-shaking  takes  place ; 
but  if  the  introduction  be  particular,  if  it  be  accompanied 
by  personal  recommendation,  such  as,  "I  want  you  to  know 
my  friend  Jones,"  or,  if  Jones  comes  with  a  letter  of  pre- 
sentation, then  you  give  Jones  your  hand,  and  warmly  too. 
Lastly,  it  is  the  privilege  of  a  superior  to  offer  or  withhold 
his  or  her  hand,  so  that  an  inferior  should  never  put  his 
forward  first. 

There  are  other  modes  of  salutation,  which,  being  too 
familiar,  are  well  avoided,  such  as  clapping  a  man  on  the 
shoulder,  digging  him  in  the  ribs,  and  so  forth.  The  French 
rarely  shake  hands,  and  only  with  intimate  friends.  They 


288 


THE  PROMENADE,  ETC. 


then  give  the  left  hand,  because  that  is  nearer  the  heart, 
la  main  du  coeur.  The  most  cordial  way  of  shaking  hands 
is  to  give  both  at  once,  but  this  presupposes  a  certain  or 
uncertain  amount  of  affection. 

When  you  meet  a  friend  in  the  street,  it  must  depend 
on  the  amount  of  familiarity  whether  you  walk  with  him 
or  not,  but  with  a  lady  you  must  not  walk  unless  invited 
either  verbally  or  tacitly.  A  young  and  single  man  should 
never  walk  with  a  young  lady  in  public  places,  unless 
especially  asked  to  do  so.  How  Sybilla's  words  thrilled 
through  me,  when  she  said,  "  Mamma,  I  am  going  to  walk 

home  with  Mr.  ,  if  you  have  no  objection."    I  had  not 

proposed  it,  it  was  her  own  doing.  No  wonder  I  am  a 
bachelor  still,  and  she  the  Amy  in  Locksley  Hall !  If  you 
walk  with  a  lady  alone  in  a  large  town,  particularly  in 
London,  you  must  offer  her  your  arm ;  elsewhere  it  is  un- 
necessary, and  even  marked. 

In  driving  with  ladies,  a  man  must  take  the  back  seat 
of  the  carriage,  and  when  it  stops,  jump  out  first  and  offer 
his  hand  to  let  them  out.  In  your  own  carriage  you 
always  give  the  front  seat  to  a  visitor,  if  you  are  a  man, 
but  a  lady  leaves  the  back  seat  for  a  gentleman. 

In  railway  travelling  you  should  not  open  a  conversation 
with  a  lady  unknown  to  you,  until  she  makes  some  advance 
towards  it.  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  polite  to  speak  to  a 
gentleman.  If,  however,  his  answers  be  curt,  and  he  evinces 
a  desire  to  be  quiet,  do  not  pursue  the  conversation.  On 
your  part,  if  addressed  in  a  railway  carriage,  you  should 
always  reply  politely.  If  you  have  a  newspaper,  and  others 
have  not,  you  should  offer  it  to  the  person  nearest  to  you. 
An  acquaintance  begun  on  a  railway  may  sometimes  go 
farther,  but,  as  a  general  rule,  it  terminates  when  one  of 
the  parties  leaves  the  carriage.  A  Frenchman  always  takes 
off  his  hat  in  a  carriage  where  there  are  ladies,  whether  a 
private  or  public  one.  This  is  a  politeness  which  really 
well-bred  Englishmen  imitate.  If  you  go  in  an  omnibus 
(and  there  is  no  reason  why  a  gentleman  should  not  do  so), 


IN  PUBLIC  CONVEYANCES. 


289 


it  is  well  to  avoid  conversation,  but  4f  you  enter  into  it, 
beware  of  inflammatory  subjects.  An  acquaintance  of  mine 
once  talked  politics  to  a  radical  in  an  omnibus.  The  two 
got  heated,  and  more  heated,  and  my  acquaintance — for  he 
was  no  friend,  I  assure  you — ended  by  driving'his  opponent's 
head  through  the  window  of  the  vehicle.  It"  was  agreeable 
— very — to  see  his  name  next  day  in  the  polices-reports. 


V 


CHAPTER  X. 

IN  PRIVATE.     VISITS,  INTRODUCTIONS,  ETC, 

There  are  many  great  men  who  go  unrewarded  for  the 
services  they  render  to  humanity.  Nay,  even  their  names 
are  lost,  while  we  daily  bless  their  inventions.  One  of  these 
is  he,  if  it  was  not  a  lady,  who  introduced  the  use  of  visit- 
ing cards.  In  days  of  yore  a  slate  or  a  book  was  kept,  and 
you  wrote  your  name  on  it.  But  then  that  could  only  be 
done  when  your  acquaintance  was  "  not  at  home."  To  the 
French  is  due  the  practice  of  making  the  delivery  of  a  card 
serve  the  purpose  of  the  appearance  of  the  individual,  and 
with  those  who  have  a  large  acquaintance  this  custom  is 
becoming  very  common  in  large  towns. 

The  visit  or  call  is,  however,  a  much  better  institution 
than  is  generally  supposed.  It  has  its  drawbacks.  It  wastes 
much  time  ;  it  necessitates  much  small  talk.  It  obliges  one 
to  dress  on  the  chance  of  finding  a  friend  at  home  ;  but  for 
all  this  it  is  almost  the  only  means  of  making  an  acquaint- 
ance ripen  into  a  friendship.  In  the  visit  all  the  strain, 
which  general  society  somehow  necessitates,  is  thrown  off. 
A  man  receives  you  in  his  rooms  cordially,  and  makes  you 
welcome,  not  to  a  stiff  dinner,  but  an  easy-chair  and  con- 
versation. A  lady,  who  in  the  ball-room  or  party  has  been 
compelled  to  limit  her  conversation,  can  here  speak  more 
freely.  The  talk  can  descend  from  generalities  to  personal 
inquiries,  and  need  I  say  that  if  you  wish  to  know  a  young 
lady  truly,  you  must  see  her  at  home,  and  by  daylight. 

The  main  points  to  be  observed  about  visits  are  the  pro- 
290 


LETTEES  OF  INTRODUCTION.  291 

per  occasions  and  the  proper  hours.  Now,  between  actual 
friends  there  is  little  need  of  etiquette  in  these  respects.  A 
friendly  visit  may  be  made  at  any  time,  on  any  occasion. 
Trne,  yon  are  more  welcome  when  the  business  of  the  day 
is  over,  in  the  afternoon  rather  than  the  morning,  and  you 
must,  even  as  a  friend,  avoid  calling  at  meal-times.  But, 
on  the  other  hand,  many  people  receive  visits  in  the  evening 
— another  French  custom — and  certainly  this  is  the  best 
time  to  make  them. 

As  however,  during  the  season,  you  have  but  a  slight 
chance  of  finding  your  friends  at  home  in  the  evening, 
another  custom  has  been  imported  from  France  into  the 
best  circles  of  English  society,  that,  namely,  of  fixing  a  day 
in  the  week  on  which  to  receive  evening  visitors  without 
the  ceremony  of  a  party.  The  visit  may  then  last  from 
one  to  two  hours,  and  be  made  either  in  morning  or  even- 
ing dress,  the  latter  being  the  better.  However,  this  custom 
is  not  yet  a  common  one,  but  I  beg  to  recommend  it  to  those 
who  wish  to  have  friends  as  well  as  mere  acquaintance. 

The  principal  class  of  visits,  then,  is  those  of  ceremony. 
The  occasions  for  these  are — with  letters  of  introduction, 
after  certain  parties,  and  to  condole  or  congratulate. 

In  the  first  case,  letters  are  rarely  if  ever  given  to  per- 
sons in  Town.  The  residence  in  town  is  presumed  to  be 
transitory,  and  letters  of  introduction  are  only  addressed  to 
permanent  residents.  On  the  other  hand,  they  are  neces- 
sary in  the  country,  particularly  when  a  family  take  up 
their  residence  in  a  district,  and  wish  to  enter  the  best 
society  of  the  place.  In  this  last  case  the  inhabitants 
always  call  first  on  the  new-comer,  unless  he  brings  a  letter 
of  introduction,  when  he  is  the  first  to  call,  but  instead  of 
going  in,  leaves  it  with  a  card  or  cards,  and  waits  till  this 
formal  visit  is  returned.  In  returning  a  visit  made  with  a 
letter  it  is  necessary  to  go  in  if  the  family  is  at  home.  "  A 
letter  of  introduction,"  says  La  Fontaine,  "  is  a  draft  at 
sight,  and  you  must  cash  it."  In  large  towns  there  is  no 
such  custom.    It  would  be  impossible  for  the  residents  to 


292 


VISITS,  INTRODUCTIONS,  ETC. 


call  on  every  new  comer,  and  half  of  the  new  arrivals  might 
be  people  whose  acquaintance  they  would  not  wish  to  im- 
prove. If,  however,  you  take  a  letter  of  introduction  with 
any  special  object,  whether  of  business  or  of  a  private  or 
particular  character,  you  are  right  to  send  in  the  letter 
with  your  card,  and  ask  for  admission.  Such  letters 
should  only  be  given  by  actual  friends  of  the  persons 
addressed,  and  to  actual  friends  of  their  own.  Never,  if 
you  are  wise,  give  a  letter  to  a  person  whom  you  do  not 
know,  nor  address  one  to  one  whom  you  know  slightly. 
The  letter  of  introduction,  if  actually  given  to  its  bearer, 
should  be  left  open,  that  he  may  not  incur  the  fate  of  the 
Persian  messenger,  who  brought  tablets  of  introduction 
recommending  the  new  acquaintance  to  cut  his  head  off. 
A  letter  of  this  kind  must  therefore  be  carefully  worded, 
stating  in  full  the  name  of  the  person  introduced,  but  with 
as  few  remarks  about  him  as  possible.  It  is  generally 
sufficient  to  say  that  he  is  a  friend  of  yours,  whom  you 
trust  your  other  friend  will  receive  with  attention,  &c.  In 
travelling  it  is  well  to  have  as  many  letters  as  possible,  but 
not  to  pin  your  faith  on  them.  In  foreign  towns  it  is  the 
custom  for  the  new  comer  to  call  on  the  residents  first,  just 
the  reverse  of  ours. 

Ceremonial  visits  must  be  made  the  day  after  a  ball, 
when  it  will  suffice  to  leave  a  card ;  within  a  day  or  two 
after  a  dinner  party,  when  you  ought  to  make  the  visit 
personally,  unless  the  dinner  was  a  semi-official  one,  such 
as  the  Lord  Mayor's  ;  and  within  a  week  of  a  small  party, 
when  the  call  should  certainly  be  made  in  person.  .  All 
these  visits  should  be  short,  lasting  from  twenty  minutes 
to  half-an-hour  at  the  most.  There  is  one  species  of  "  bore" 
more  detestable  than  any  other — the  man,  namely,  who 
comes  and  sits  in  your  drawing-room  for  an  hour  or  two, 
preventing  you  from  going  out  to  make  your  own  calls,  or 
interrupting  the  calls  of  others.  It  is  proper  when  you 
have  been  some  time  at  a  visit,  and  another  caller  is  an- 
nounced, to  rise  and  leave,  not  indeed  immediately,  as  if 


VISITS  OF  CEREMONY. 


293 


you  shunned  the  new  arrival,  but  after  a  moment  or  two. 
In  other  cases,  when  you  doubt  when  to  take  your  leave, 
you  must  not  look  at  your  watch,  but  wait  till  there  is  a 
lull  in  the  conversation. 

Visits  of  condolence  and  congratulation  must  be  made 
about  a  week  after  the  event.  If  you  are  intimate  with 
the  person  on  whom  you  call,  you  may  ask  in  the  first 
case  for  admission  ;  if  not,  it  is  better  only  to  leave  a  card, 
and  make  your  "  kind  inquiries"  of  the  servant,  who  is 
generally  primed  in  what  manner  to  answer  them.  In 
visits  of  congratulation  you  should  always  go  in,  and  be 
hearty  in  your  congratulations.  Visits  of  condolence  are 
terrible  inflictions  to  both  receiver  and  giver,  but  they  may 
be  made  less  so  by  avoiding,  as  much  as  consistent  with 
sympathy,  any  allusion  to  the  past.  The  receiver  does  well 
to  abstain  from  tears.  A  lady  of  my  acquaintance,  who  had 
lost  her  husband,  was  receiving  such  a  visit  in  her  best  crape. 
She  wept  profusely  for  some  time  upon  the  best  of  broad- 
hemmed  cambric  handkerchiefs,  and  then  turning  to  her 
visitor  said  :  "lam  sure  you  will  be  glad  to  hear  that  Mr. 

B  has  left  me  most  comfortably  provided  for."  Hinc 

illce  lacrymce.  Perhaps  they  would  have  been  more  sincere 
if  he  had  left  her  without  a  penny.  At  the  same  time,  if 
you  have  not  sympathy  and  heart  enough  to  pump  up  a 
little  condolence,  you  will  do  better  to  avoid  it,  but  take 
care  that  your  conversation  is  not  too  gay.  Whatever  you 
may  feel,  you  must  respect  the  sorrows  of  others. 

On  marriage,  cards  are  sent  round  to  such  people  as  you 
wish  to  keep  among  your  acquaintance,  and  it  is  then  their 
part  to  call  first  on  the  young  couple,  when  within  distance. 

I  now  come  to  a  few  hints  about  calling  in  general ;  and 
first  as  to  the  time  thereof.  In  London,  the  limits  of  calling 
hours  are  fixed,  namely,  from  three  to  six,  but  in  the  coun- 
try people  are  sometimes  odious  enough  to  call  in  the  morn- 
ing before  lunch.  This  should  not  be  done  even  by  intimate 
friends.  Everybody  has,  or  ought  to  have,  his  or  her  proper 
occupation  in  the  morning,  and  a  caller  will  then  sometimes 


294 


VISITS,  INTRODUCTIONS,  ETC. 


find  the  lady  of  the  house  unprepared.  It  is  necessary 
before  calling  to  ascertain  the  hours  at  which  your  friends 
lunch  and  dine,  and  not  to  call  at  these.  A  ceremonial  call 
from  a  slight  acquaintance  ought  to  be  returned  the  next 
day,  or  at  longest  within  three  days,  unless  the  distance  be 
great.  In  the  same  way,  if  a  stranger  comes  to  stay  at  the 
house  of  a  friend,  in  the  country,  or  in  small  country  towns, 
every  resident  ought  to  call  on  him  or  her,  even  if  she  be  a 
young  lady,  as  soon  as  possible  after  the  arrival.  These 
calls  should  be  made  in  person,  and  returned  the  next  day. 

The  card  is  the  next  point.  It  should  be  perfectly 
simple.  A  lady's  card  is  larger  than  a  gentleman's.  The 
former  may  be  glazed,  the  latter  not.  The  name,  with  a 
simple  "  Mr."  or  "  Mrs."  before  it  is  sufficient,  except  in 
the  case  of  acknowledged  rank,  as  "  The  Earl  of  Ducie," 
"  Colonel  Marjoribanks,"  "  The  Hon.  Mrs.  Petre,"  and  so 
forth.  All  merely  honorary  titles  or  designations  of  posi- 
tion or  office  should  be  left  out,  except  in  cards  destined  for 
purely  official  visits.  Thus  our  ambassador  at  Paris  returns 
official  visits  with  a  card  thus  :  "  L'Ambassadeur  de  Sa 
Majeste"  Britannique,"  but  those  of  acquaintance  with  "  Lord 
Cowley"  simply.  The  address  may  be  put  in  the  corner  of 
the  card.  The  engraving  should  be  in  simple  Italian  writing, 
not  Gothic  or  Roman  letters,  very  small  and  without  any 
flourishes.  Young  men  have  adopted  recently  the  foreign 
custom  of  having  their  Christian  and  surname  printed  with- 
out the  "  Mr."  A  young  lady  does  not  require  a  separate 
card  as  long  as  she  is  living  with  her  mother ;  her  name  is 
then  engraved  under  her  mother's,  as  : — 

Mrs.  Jones  Brownsmith. 
Miss  Jones  Brownsmith. 

Or  if  there  be  more  than  one  daughter  presented,  thus  : — 

Mrs.  Jones  Brownsmith. 
Hie  Miss  Jones  Brownsmiths. . 

Which  latter  form  can  be  defended  as  more  idiomatic,  if 
less  grammatical,  than  "  The  Misses  Jones  Brownsmith ; " 


LEAVING  CARDS. 


295 


but  it  is  matter  of  little  importance.  I  cannot  enter  here 
on  a  grammatical  discussion,  and  the  one  form  is  as  com- 
mon as  the  other. 

You  will  find  a  small  card-case  neater  and  more  con- 
venient than  a  pocket-book ;  and  in  leaving  cards  you  must 
thus  distribute  them  :  one  for  the  lady  of  the  house  and 
her  daughters — the  latter  are  sometimes  represented  by 
turning  up  the  edge  of  the  card — one  for  the  master  of  the 
house,  and  if  there  be  a  grown-up  son  or  near  male  relation 
staying  in  the  house,  one  for  him.  But  though  cards  are 
cheap,  you  must  never  leave  more  than  three  at  a  time  at 
the  same  house.  As  married  men  have,  or  are  supposed  to 
have,  too  much  to  do  to  make  ceremonial  calls,  it  is  the 
custom  for  a  wife  to  take  her  husband's  cards  with  her,  and 
to  leave  one  or  two  of  them  with  her  own.  If,  on  your  in- 
quiring for  the  lady  of  the  house,  the  servant  replies,  "  Mrs. 
So-and-so  is  not  at  home,  but  Miss  So-and-so  is,"  you  should 
leave  a  card,  because  young  ladies  do  not  receive  calls  from 
gentlemen,  unless  they  are  very  intimate  with  them,  or  have 
passed  the  rubicon  of  thirty  summers.  It  must  be  remem- 
bered, too,  that  where  there  is  a  lady  of  the  house,  your 
call  is  to  her,  not  to  her  husband,  except  on  business. 

The  Koman  Assembly  used  to  break  up  if  thunder  was 
heard,  and  in  days  of  yore  a  family  assembly  was  often  broken 
up  very  hurriedly  at  the  thunder  of  the  knocker,  one  or  other 
of  the  daughters  exclaiming,  "  I  am  not  dressed,  mamma  ! " 
and  darting  from  the  room ;  but  ladies  ought  to  be  dressed 
sufficiently  to  receive  visitors  in  the  afternoon.  As  nerves 
have  grown  more  delicate  of  late  years,  it  is  perhaps  a  bless- 
ing that  knockers  have  been  superseded  by  bells.  Where 
they  remain,  however,  you  should  not  rattle  them  fiercely,  as  a 
powdered  Mercury  does,  nor  should  you  pull  a  bell  ferociously. 

Having  entered  the  house,  you  take  up  with  you  to  the 
drawing-room  both  hat  and  cane,  but  leave  an  umbrella  in 
the  hall.  In  France  it  is  usual  to  leave  a  great- coat  down 
stairs  also,  but  as  calls  are  made  in  this  country  in  morning 
dress,  it  is  not  necessary  to  do  so. 


296 


VISITS,  nmtODTTCTIONS,  ETC. 


It  is  not  usual  to  introduce  people  at  morning  calls  in 
large  towns ;  in  the  country  it  is  sometimes  done,  not 
always.  The  law  of  introductions  is,  in  fact,  to  force  no 
one  into  an  acquaintance.  You  should  therefore  ascertain 
beforehand  whether  it  is  agreeable  to  both  to  be  introduced ; 
but  if  a  lady  or  a  superior  expresses  a  wish  to  know  a  gen- 
tleman or  an  inferior,  the  latter  two  have  no  right  to  de- 
cline the  honour.  The  introduction  is  of  an  inferior  (which 
position  a  gentleman  always  holds  to  a  lady)  to  the  superior. 
You  introduce  Mr.  Smith  to  Mrs.  Jones,  or  Mr.  A.  to  Lord  B., 
not  vice  versd.  In  introducing  two  persons,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary to  lead  one  of  them  up  by  the  hand,  but  it  is  sufficient 
simply  to  precede  them.  Having  thus  brought  the  person 
to  be  introduced  up  to  the  one  to  whom  he  is  to  be  pre- 
sented, it  is  the  custom,  even  when  the  consent  has  been 
previously  obtained,  to  say,  with  a  slight  bow  to  the  supe- 
rior personage  :  "  Will  you  allow  me  to  introduce  Mr.  —  f 
The  person  addressed  replies  by  bowing  to  the  one  intro- 
duced, who  also  bows  at  the  same  time,  while  the  introducer 
repeats  their  names,  and  then  retires,  leaving  them  to  con- 
verse. Thus,  for  instance,  in  presenting  Mr.  Jones  to  Mrs. 
Smith,  you  will  say,  "  Mrs.  Smith,  allow  me  to  introduce 
Mr.  Jones,"  and  while  they  are  engaged  in  bowing,  you 
will  murmur,  "  Mrs.  Smith — Mr.  Jones,"  and  escape.  If 
you  have  to  present  three  or  four  people  to  said  Mrs.  Smith, 
it  will  suffice  to  utter  their  respective  names  with  repeating 
that  of  the  lady. 

A  well-bred  person  always  receives  visitors  at  whatever 
time  they  may  call,  or  whoever  they  may  be  ;  but  if  you  are 
occupied  and  cannot  afford  to  be  interrupted  by  a  mere 
ceremony,  you  should  instruct  the  servant  beforehand  to  say 
that  you  are  "  not  at  home."  This  form  has  often  been  de- 
nounced as  a  falsehood,  but  a  lie  is  no  lie  unless  intended 
to  deceive  ;  and  since  the  words  are  universally  understood 
to  mean  that  you  are  engaged,  it  can  be  no  harm  to  give 
such  an  order  to  a  servant.  But,  on  the  other  hand,  if  the 
servant  once  admits  a  visitor  within  the  hall,  you  should 


COUNTRY- VISITING. 


297 


receive  him  at  any  inconvenience  to  yourself.  A  lady 
should  never  keep  a  visitor  waiting  more  than  a  minute  or 
two  at  the  most,  and  if  she  cannot  avoid  doing  so,  must 
apologize  on  entering  the  drawing-room. 

In  good  society,  a  visitor,  unless  he  is  a  complete  stranger, 
does  not  wait  to  be  invited  to  sit  down,  but  takes  a  seat  at 
once  easily.  A  gentleman  should  never  take  the  principal 
place  in  the  room,  nor,  on  the  other  hand,  sit  at  an  incon- 
venient distance  from  the  lady  of  the  house.  He  must 
hold  his  hat  gracefully,  not  put  it  on  a  chair  or  table,  or,  if 
he  wants  to  use  both  hands,  must  place  it  on  the  floor  close 
to  his  chair.  A  well-bred  lady,  who  is  receiving  two  or 
three  visitors  at  a  time,  pays  equal  attention  to  all,  and 
attempts,  as  much  as  possible,  to  generalize  the  conversa- 
tion, turning  to  all  in  succession.  The  last  arrival,  however, 
receives  a  little  more  attention  at  first  than  the  others,  and 
the  latter,  to  spare  her  embarrassment,  should  leave  as  soon 
as  convenient.  People  who  out-sit  two  or  three  parties  of 
visitors,  unless  they  have  some  particular  motive  for  doing 
so,  come  under  the  denomination  of  "  bores."  A  "  bore" 
is  a  person  who  does  not  know  when  you  have  had  enough 
of  his  or  her  company.  Lastly,  a  lady  never  calls  on  a 
gentleman,  unless  professionally  or  officially.  It  is  not  only 
ill-bred,  but  positively  improper  to.  do  so.  At  the  same 
time,  there  is  a  certain  privilege  in  age,  which  makes  it 
possible  for  an  old  bachelor  like  myself  to  receive  a  visit 
from  any  married  lady  whom  I  know  very  intimately,  but 
such  a  call  would  certainly  not  be  one  of  ceremony,  and 
always  presupposes  a  desire  to  consult  me  on  some  point  or 
other.  I  should  be  guilty  of  shameful  treachery,  however, 
if  I  told  any  one  that  I  had  received  such  a  visit,  while  I 
should  certainly  expect  that  my  fair  caller  would  let  her 
husband  know  of  it. 

A  few  words  on  visits  to  country  houses  before  I  quit 
this  subject.  Since  an  Englishman's  house  is  his  castle,  no 
one,  not  even  a  near  relation,  has  a  right  to  invite  himself 
to  stay  in  it.  It  is  not  only  taking  a  liberty  to  do  so,  but 
2  p 


298 


VISITS,  INTRODUCTIONS,  ETC. 


may  prove  to  be  very  inconvenient.  A  general  invitation, 
too,  should  never  be  acted  on.  It  is  often  given  without 
any  intention  of  following  it  up ;  but,  if  given,  should  be 
turned  into  a  special  one  sooner  or  later.  An  invitation 
should  specify  the  persons  whom  it  includes,  and  the  person 
invited  should  never  presume  to  take  with  him  any  one  not 
specified.  If  a  gentleman  cannot  dispense  with  his  valet, 
or  a  lady  with  her  maid,  they  should  write  to  ask  leave  to 
bring  a  servant ;  but  the  means  of  your  inviter,  and  the 
size  of  the  house,  should  be  taken  into  consideration,  and 
it  is  better  taste  to  dispense  with  a  servant  altogether. 
Children  and  horses  are  still  more  troublesome,  and  should 
never  be  taken  without  special  mention  made  of  them.  It 
is  equally  bad  taste  to  arrive  with  a  waggonful  of  luggage, 
as  that  is  naturally  taken  as  a  hint  that  you  intend  to  stay 
a  long  time.  The  length  of  a  country  visit  is  indeed  a 
difficult  matter  to  decide,  but  in  the  present  day  people 
who  receive  much  generally  specify  the  length  in  their 
invitation — a  plan  which  saves  a  great  deal  of  trouble  and 
doubt.  But  a  custom  not  so  commendable  has  lately  come 
in  of  limiting  the  visits  of  acquaintance  to  two  or  three 
days.  This  may  be  pardonable  where  the  guest  lives  at  no 
great  distance,  but  it  is  preposterous  to  expect  a  person 
to  travel  from  London  to  Aberdeen  for  a  stay  of  three 
nights.  If,  however,  the  length  be  not  specified,  and  can- 
not easily  be  discovered,  a  week  is  the  limit  for  a  country 
visit,  except  at  the  house  of  a  near  relation  or  very  old 
friend.  It  will,  however,  save  trouble  to  yourself,  if,  soon 
after  your  arrival,  you  state  that  you  are  come  "  for  a  few 
days,"  and,  if  your  host  wishes  you  to  make  a  longer  visit, 
he  will  at  once  press  you  to  do  so. 

The  main  point  in  a  country  visit  is  to  give  as  little 
trouble  as  possible,  to  conform  to  the  habits  of  your  enter- 
tainers, and  never  to  be  in  the  way.  On  this  principle  you 
will  retire  to  your  own  occupations  soon  after  breakfast, 
unless  some  arrangement  has  been  made  for  passing  the 
morning  otherwise.    If  you  have  nothing  to  do,  you  may 


GRATUITIES  TO  SERVANTS. 


299 


be  sure  that  your  host  has  something  to  attend  to  in  the 
morning.  Another  point  of  good-breeding  is  to  be  punctual 
at  meals,  for  a  host  and  hostess  never  sit  down  without 
their  guest,  and  dinner  may  be  getting  cold.  If,  however, 
a  guest  should  fail  in  this  particular,  a  well-bred  entertainer 
will  not  only  take  no  notice  of  it,  but  attempt  to  set  the 
late  comer  as  much  at  his  ease  as  possible.  A  host  should 
provide  amusement  for  his  guests,  and  give  up  his  time  as 
much  as  possible  to  them ;  but  if  he  should  be  a  profes- 
sional man  or  a  student — an  author,  for  instance — the  guest 
should,  at  the  commencement  of  the  visit,  insist  that  he 
will  not  allow  him  to  interrupt  his  occupations,  and  the 
latter  will  set  his  visitor  more  at  his  ease  by  accepting  this 
arrangement.  In  fact,  the  rule  on  which  a  host  should  act, 
is  to  make  his  visitors  as  much  at  home  as  possible  ;  that 
on  which  a  visitor  should  act,  is  to  interfere  as  little  as 
possible  with  the  domestic  routine  of  the  house. 

The  worst  part  of  a  country  visit  is  the  necessity  of 
giving  gratuities  to  the  servants,  for  a  poor  man  may  often 
find  his  visit  cost  him  far  more  than  if  he  had  stayed  at 
home.  It  is  a  custom  which  ought  to  be  put  down,  be- 
cause a  host  who  receives  much  should  pay  his  own  ser- 
vants for  the  extra  trouble  given.  Some  people  have  made 
bye-laws  against  it  in  their  houses,  but,  like  those  about 
gratuities  to  railway-porters,  they  are  seldom  regarded.  In 
a  great  house  a  man-servant  expects  gold,  but  a  poor  man 
should  not  be  ashamed  of  offering  him  silver.  It  must 
depend  on  the  length  of  the  visit.  The  ladies  give  to  the 
female,  the  gentlemen  to  the  male  servants.  Would  that  I 
might  see  my  friends  without  paying  them  for  their  hospi- 
tality in  this  indirect  manner. 


PART  III 
THE  INDIVIDUAL  IN  COMPANY. 


CHAPTER  XI. 

DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

"  Board  !"  cried  a  friend  of  mine  one  morning  after  a 
heavy  dinner-party  ;  "it  ought  to  be  spelt  1  bored.'  Never 
was  a  more  solemn  torture  created  for  mankind  than  these 
odious  dinner-parties.  Call  it  society  !  so  you  might  call 
the  Inquisition ;  and  I  really  have  my  doubts  whether  I 
should  not  be  as  happy  between  a  couple  of  jailers,  in- 
serting another  and  another  wedge  into  the  terrible  boot,  as 
between  that  garrulous  old  woman,  who  never  waited  for 
an  answer,  and  that  nervous  young  lady  who  never  gave 
one,  with  a  huge  epergne  between  me  and  the  rest  of  my 
fellow-creatures,  an  occasional  glimpse  of  an  irritable,  solemn 
host  at  one  end,  and  a  most  anxious  hostess  at  the  other. 
Upon  my  word,  two  whole  hours  of  this,  with  the  most 
laboured  attempts  at  conversation  all  round,  in  a  dark  room 
with  a  servant  perpetually  thrusting  something  across  my 
shoulder,  exciting  each  time  a  fresh  alarm  of  a  shower  of 
sauce  or  gravy ;  stupidity  worked  up  to  silliness  by  bad 
champagne  and  worse  port,  and,  when  every  one  is  wearied 
to  death,  a  white-mouse  ditty  from  the  shy  young  lady,  and 
another  hour  and  a  half  of  that  frantically  garrulous  old 
one — really  is  this  society  V 

Perhaps  not ;  but  that  is  no  reason  why  a  dinner-party, 
300 


THE  MOEALITY  OF  DINNER-PARTIES. 


301 


properly  selected  and  properly  served,  should  not  be  as 
pleasant  a  meeting  as  any  other.  Indeed  in  England  it 
ought  to  be  pleasanter.  The  English  are  not  famous  for 
conversation;  but  it  has  been  proved,  that  if  you  want 
them  to  talk,  you  must  put  something  substantial  into  their 
mouths.  One  thing  is  certain,  namely,  that  a  dinner-party 
is  the  main  institution  of  society  in  this  country,  and  one 
which  every  class  and  every  denomination  recognises  and 
permits.  Many  people  denounce  balls  as  wicked,  and  con- 
sider evening  parties  frivolous,  but  none  see  any  harm  in 
being  well  fed,  and  made  to  drink  a  certain  or  uncertain 
quantity  of  wine.  It  certainly  has  often  surprised  me,  that 
at  the  very  time  when  we  are  appealing  to  men  of  all  posi- 
tions and  all  fortunes  for  subscriptions  to  relieve  the  desti- 
tute poor — when  starving  brethren  are  crawling  in  their 
filthy  rags  along  the  crowded  pavement — when  the  home- 
less are  crouching  on  our  door-steps,  and  perishing  of  hunger 
but  a  few  streets  off,  the  noble  philanthropist  who  presides 
at  a  meeting  for  their  relief,  and  the  bishop  who  calls  for 
charity  for  them  from  the  pulpit,  should  see  no  harm  in 
encouraging,  by  their  presence,  the  prodigality  and  Sybarite 
luxury  of  professional  dinner-givers  (for  they  make  it  almost 
a  profession).  It  is  certainly  strange,  that  while  Scripture 
is  ransacked  for  texts  inculcating  almsgiving  and  the  duty 
of  feeding  the  hungry,  those  words  of  Solomon,  which  de- 
nounce the  man  who  gives  to  the  rich,  should  be  so  com- 
pletely overlooked.  It  is  remarkable,  that  the  man  who 
can  with  difficulty  be  brought  to  give  a  ten-pound  note  to 
keep  a  hundred  souls  alive,  should,  of  his  own  free-will, 
spend  twice  the  sum  once  a  week  in  feasting  with  dainties 
some  dozen  of  his  fellow-creatures,,  who  can  scarcely  get  up 
the  requisite  amount  of  appetite  to  enjoy  them.  But,  after 
all,  it  is  not  so  strange,  for  men  are  selfish,  and  the  good- 
will of  a  few  rich  is  more  highly  prized  than  the  gratitude 
of  many  poor. 

But  let  this  pass,  and  let  us  console  ourselves  by  the 
reflection  that  common  sense,  if  no  higher  feeling,  will  in 


302  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

time  simplify  our  social  banquets  ;  and  that  charity,  some 
fifty  years  hence,  will  see  no  hann,  as  it  now  would,  in 
calling  in  the  blind,  the  halt,  and  the  needy,  to  partake  of 
the  dishes  we  now  spread  only  for  the  rich,  the  fashionable, 
and  the  appetiteless.  One  rule,  however,  we  may  gain  at 
once  from  these  considerations,  that  only  the  wealthy  should 
be  dinner-givers,  and  the  man  who  cannot  "afford"  £5  for 
the  starving,  should  on  no  account  afford  £20  for  the 
well  fed. 

A  dinner,  like  a  pun,  should  never  be  made  public  unless 
it  be  very  good,  but  at  the  same  time  modern  improvements 
enable  it  to  be  that  without  being  also  very  expensive. 
The  goodness  of  a  dinner  does  not  consist  in  the  rarity  and 
costliness  of  the  viands,  but  in  the  manner  in  which  they 
are  cooked  and  served,  in  the  various  concomitants  which 
contribute  to  give  it  brilliance  and  elegance,  and  yet  more 
in  the  guests  who  eat  it. 

This  last  point  is,  in  fact,  the  most  important,  so  that  the 
invitation  is  only  a  second  consideration  to  the  dinner  itself. 
The  rules  for  invitations,  and  some  hint's  whom  to  invite, 
are  given  in  the  next  chapter  by  my  colleague.  I  need 
give  but  a  few  hints  of  my  own.  People  who  have  a  large 
acquaintance  and  give  dinners,  should  keep  a  book  in  which 
to  write  the  names  of  those  who  compose  each  party,  which 
prevents  the  mistake  of  asking  the  same  person  twice,  and 
of  bringing  precisely  the  same  people  together  again  when 
their  turn  comes  round.  There  are  indeed  some  privileged 
persons  like  myself,  agreeable  old  bachelors,  who,  being  free 
from  encumbrance  and  full  of  talk,  are  always  welcome  and 
generally  wanted.  In  fact,  such  men  run  a  risk  of  being 
known  as  professional  diners-out,  like  the  convivce  of  Rome, 
so  that  it  is  a  greater  charity  not  to  invite  them  too  often. 
And  this  reminds  me  that  you  should  not  ask  a  man  with- 
out his  wife,  though  you  may  leave  his  sons  and  daughters 
out  of  the  calculation.  Then,  again,  the  very  ancient  had 
better  be  left  to  dine  at  home,  unless,  like  Lady  Morgan, 
they  preserve  their  conversational  powers.    The  invitation 


WHOM  TO  INVITE. 


303 


must  be  answered  as  soon  as  possible,  and  the  answer 
addressed  to  the  lady  of  the  house. 

But  the  question  whom  to  invite,  is  one  which  cannot  be 
so  easily  answered.  First,  there  are  some  people  whom  you 
must  invite  sooner  or  later,  namely,  those  at  whose  houses 
you  have  dined ;  because  you  may  neglect  every  Christian 
duty,  and  be  less  blamed  than  if  you  omit  this  social  one. 
This  is  certainly  absurd,  and  society  becomes  almost  low 
when  dinner-parties  take  the  semblance  of  a  tacit  contract, 
in  which  the  one  party  undertakes  to  feed  the  other  to-day, 
if  the  other  will  feed  him  in  return  before  the  end  of  the 
season.  Yet  I  have  known  people  not  at  all  ashamed  to 
complain  that  they  have  not  been  asked  to  dinner,  and  not 
blush  to  say,  "  They  owe  us  a  dinner,  you  know."  Some- 
how, then,  you  must  manage  to  acquit  yourself  of  these 
dinner  debts  before  the  season  is  over.  Society  condemns 
you  severely  if  you  do  not  pay  your  debts  of  hospitality. 
Of  course  this  applies  only  to  people  who  are  known  to  be 
in  the  habit  of  giving  dinners.  Those  who  from  one  cause 
or  another  do  not  do  so,  are  still  invited,  though  not  so 
often. 

But  when  you  have  done  your  duty  religiously  in  this 
respect,  you  have  the  world  before  you.  Where  to  choose  ] 
Now,  after  taking  into  due  consideration  the  congruities 
and  sympathies  of  those  you  may  select,  the  chief  point  is 
to  invite  men  and  women — an  equal  number  of  each  of 
course — who  can  talk.  By  this  I  do  not  mean  your  rapid 
utterers  of  small-talk,  who  can  coin  more  pretty  nonsense 
in  half  an  hour  than  a  modern  novelist  in  three  months, 
but  men,  who  having  gone  through  the  world,  and  tamed 
their  Pegasus  with  the  curb  of  experience,  not  being  bound, 
Mazeppa-like,  on  the  back  of  some  wretched  hobby,  can 
gallop  smoothly  over  the  themes  that  life  and  the  news- 
papers supply  to  wit ;  men  who  view  life  calmly  from  the 
height  to  which  they  have  climbed,  without  prejudice  and 
without  awe ;  and  women  who  are  capable  of  understand- 
ing and  answering  such  men  as  these,    But  you  must  care- 


304  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

fully  avoid  the  eater,  by  which  I  mean  both  the  gourmand 
and  the  gourmet,  both  the  alderman  whose  motto  is  quan- 
tity, and  the  epicure  who  cries  for  quality.  Of  what  good 
is  it  to  pander  to  the  greediness  of  a  vile  being,  whose  soul 
lies  in  the  stomach,  as  the  Greeks  affirmed  that  it  always  did, 
and  whose  mind  and  thoughts  are  much  in  the  same  region. 
If  such  men  can  talk  at  all,  it  is  only  of  eating,  and  if  you 
do  not  feed  them  with  the  especial  dainties  they  look  for, 
their  gratitude  shows  itself  in  sneers  at  your  hospitality 
when  they  next  dine  out.  Wits,  again,  and  men  who 
think  themselves  to  be  so,  should  never  be  asked  singly, 
for  they  will  engross  the  conversation,  and  silence  the  rest. 
When  asked  in  numbers,  they  keep  one  another  within 
limits. 

The  number  of  the  guests  is  a  difficulty.  People  find 
that  it  is  more  economical  to  give  large  than  small  dinners, 
and  will  therefore  continue  to  go  on  in  solemn  grandeur. 
But  the  best  dinners  are  those  at  which  all  the  guests  can 
join  in  a  common  conversation,  to  which  the  host  being 
within  hearing  of  all  his  party  can  give  the  proper  lead. 
Such  dinners  alone  can  be  agreeable  to  all,  because  no  One 
is  dependent  on  the  liveliness  of  his  or  her  nearest  neigh- 
bour for  conversation.  As  it  is,  too  many  at  dinner  is 
nothing  better  than  an  eating  quadrille,  where  each  person 
has  a  partner  and  is  at  his  mercy ;  only  that  the  dance 
lasts  not  an  eighth  of  the  time  which  the  leashed  diner  is 
compelled  to  pass  in  company  with  his  partner.  Brillat 
Savarin  says,  that  no  dinner  should  have  more  than  twelve 
guests,  and  the  old  rule  was,  "  neither  less  than  the  graces, 
nor  more  than  the  muses  but  London  dinners  oftener 
exceed  these  limits  than  the  reverse,  while  country  dinners 
mount  up  to  twenty.  Indeed,  with  some  senseless  people, 
the  eclat  of  the  dinner  seems  to  consist  in  the  number  of 
the  guests,  and  the  more  you  can  feed  the  more  your 
glory.  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  the  old  rule  is  the  best ; 
but  as  it  was  made  for  tables  at  which  ladies  never  ap- 
peared, some  alteration  must  be  made  in  it,  1 


THE  NUMBER  OF  THE  GUESTS. 


305 


say  generally,  that  an  even  number  is  better  than  an  odd 
one,  and  that  it  should  be  either  six,  eight,  or  ten.  The  first 
of  course  is  reserved  for  your  dinners  of  honour,  when  the 
men  you  admire  and  the  women  you  love — (two  of  each, 
for  no  man  can  find  more  than  that  rj  umber  in  the  world) — 
dine  with  you  and  your  wife ;  the  second  is  your  sociable 
dinner,  at  which  all  the  guests  are  more  or  less  known  to 
one  another  •  and  the  third  is  your  company  dinner.  If 
you  exceed  these  numbers,  you  may  do  what  you  will  to 
make  your  dinner  perfect,  your  guests  will  spoil  it  all  by 
falling  into  couples  and  eating  in  quadrille. 

But  there  is  another  reason  for  limiting  the  number, 
namely,  that  to  give  a  good  dinner,  your  means,  your  esta- 
blishment, your  dining-room,  the  capacities  of  the  table, 
and  so  forth,  must  all  be  taken  into  consideration.  But  if 
the  dinner  is  given  to  fourteen,  sixteen,  or  even  eighteen, 
as  is  now  common  in  large  towns,  you  must  either  increase 
your  establishment  and  your  expense  not  a  little,  or  be 
content,  as  people  are,  to  give  them  the  regular  "  feed,"  in 
which  everybody  knows  beforehand  what  they  will  have. 
One  cook,  for  instance,-  cannot  serve  up  properly  for  more 
than  a  dozen  people ;  three  men  cannot  wait  properly  on 
more  than  ten ;  and  a  table  which  will  hold  more  than 
that  number  will  be  so  large  as  to  separate  the  opposite 
guests  too  far  for  easy  and  general  conversation.  Lastly, 
if  your  means  enabled  you  to  dine  a  hundred  or  a  thousand 
every  week,  you  would  be  a  madman  to  do  so  ;  you  might 
as  well  give  your  dinner  to  two  only,  for  what  of  that 
essential  harmony,  that  communion  of  mind  and  spirit, 
"  the  feast  of  reason  and  the  flow  of  soul,"  can  there  pos- 
sibly be  between  a  hundred,  nay,  even  seventy  people,  some 
of  them  so  far  from  one  another  that  they  could  scarcely 
be  heard  without  a  speaking-trumpet  1 

Having  well  selected  your  guests,  you  consider  in  what 
room  to  dine  them,  for  the  regular  dining-room  is  not 
always  the  most  comfortable.  If  the  party  be  small — six 
or  eight — a  large  diniag-room  will  look  very  ghastly,  and 
2q 


306  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

it  should  be  borne  in  mind  that  dinner-givers  of  good  taste 
study  comfort  more  than  grandeur,  which  latter  is  simply 
vulgar  whether  in  the  house  of  a  duke  or  a  haberdasher. 
The  furniture  of  our  dining-rooms  is  certainly  improving  a 
little.  Nothing  could  be  more  chilling  to  the  mind  and 
appetite  alike  than  the  stone-coloured  walls,  displaying  the 
usual  magnificent  oil-paintings  of  an  unknown  school,  the 
bust  of  the  master  of  the  feast  at  one  end  looking  almost 
less  solemn  than  the  original  under  it,  the  huge  table  with 
its  cumbrous  silver  adornments,  the  stiff  side-board  and  the 
stiffer  chairs.  Whether  it  was  a  Puritanical  attempt  at 
simplicity  which  insisted  that  if  we  would  have  a  good 
dinner  we  should  mortify  the  flesh  with  bad  concomitants, 
or  whether  it  was  a  foolish  fancy  that  a  dining-room  should 
be  cold,  though  the  dinner  were  hot,  I  cannot  say ;  but  I 
feel  that  the  man  who  makes  dining  a  study — and  he  who 
gives  dinners  should  in  charity  do  so — must  go  farther  in 
the  improvements  of  the  room  than  we  yet  have.  Light 
and  an  air  of  comfort  are  the  main  essentials.  The  tem- 
perature must  not,  even  in  summer,  be  too  low,  for  sitting 
at  dinner  produces  a  chill  in  itself.  Thirteen  to  sixteen  de- 
grees of  Reaumur  are  fixed  for  it  by  the  author  of  the  Physio- 
logie  du  gout ;  but  whatever  the  exact  temperature,  it  must 
be  obtained  before  dinner  by  lighting  the  fire  some  hours 
previously,  and  allowing  it  to  burn  rather  low  until  near 
the  end  of  the  meal,  when  it  must  be  replenished.  There 
are  very  few  days  in  an  English  summer  when  a  small  fire 
after  dinner  is  not  acceptable.  In  very  cold  weather,  when 
a  large  one  is  necessary,  it  is  not  easy  to  manage  so  that 
one-half  of  the  guests  shall  not  have  their  backs  roasted 
and  the  other  not  be  frozen,  but  there  are  two  ways  of  pre- 
venting it — the  one  by  a  large  glass-screen  before  the  fire, 
the  other  by  a  table  in  the  shape  of  a  horse-shoe  or  of  a 
segment  of  a  circle,  of  which  the  chord  will  be  towards  the 
fire.  A  dinner-giver  will  then  have  his  round  or  oval  table 
so  made  as  to  be  divisible  into  two  separate  ones. 
The  shape  of  the  table  is,  in  fact,  a  more  essential  point  than 


I 

THE  SHAPE  OF  THE  TABLE. 


307 


some  people  think.  In  order  that  a  dinner  may  be  a  social 
meeting,  not  a  mere  collection  of  tetes-a-tetes,  as  it  used  to 
be  till  recently,  and  still  is  sometimes,  the  table  must  be  of 
a  shape  which  will  not  make  conversation  difficult  between 
any  two  or  more  of  the  guests.  The  old  parallelogram, 
with  the  stately  host  at  the  end  and  the  radiant  but 
anxious  lady  at  the  other,  was  fatal  to  conversation.  It 
was  too  broad,  too  long,  too  stiff — the  corners  cut  off  the 
lord  and  lady  of  the  feast  from  their  honoured  guests,  and 
necessitated  leaning  across  ;  while  if  Monsieur  wished  to 
make  a  remark  to  Madame,  he  had,  independently  of  the 
joints,  epergne,  and  candelabra,  a  length  of  table  to  impede 
him  which  compelled  him  to  raise  his  voice  most  unmusi- 
cally. It  caused  a  complete  divorce,  in  fact,  and  Sir  Cress- 
well  Cresswell  could  not  more  effectually  sever  man  and 
wife  than  that  ancient  "  board" — for  such  it  literally  was 
in  shape — used  to  do.  The  modern  table  is  oval.  Some 
people  dine  at  round  tables,  like  Arthur  and  his  knights, 
but  these,  if  large  enough  for  a  party,  will  have  a  diameter 
every  way  too  long  to  allow  any  two  opposite  guests  to 
converse.  The  horse-shoe  table  is  suited  only  for  a  small 
party,  and  the  base  should  not  be  occupied.  As  for  the 
long  "  planks,"  which  served  us  for  tables  at  college,  and 
still  do  so  at  public  dinners,  they  have  the  advantage  over 
the  mahogany  of  the  dining-room,  of  allowing  a  guest  five 
persons  to  talk  to  instead  of  one,  but  they  make  elegance 
almost  impossible.  A  lozenge-shaped  table,  with  the  points 
rounded  off,  sounds  Epicurean,  but  it  leaves  open  the 
question — where  are  the  host  and  hostess  to  sit  %  At  the 
oval  table  I  need  scarcely  say  they  sit  in  the  middle  of  each 
side,  opposite  to  one  another. 

The  dining-room  must  be,  of  course,  carpeted  even  in 
the  heat  of  summer,  to  deaden  the  noise  of  the  servants' 
feet.  The  chairs  should  be  easy,  with  tall  slanting  backs, 
but  without  arms.  As  they  should  not  be  much  higher 
than  drawing-room  chairs,  the  table  must  be  lowered  in  pro- 
portion.   Each  person  should  be  provided  with  a  footstool. 


308         DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

Light  is  positively  necessary  to  digestion,  and  no  party 
can  be  cheerful  without  it.  It  is  difficult  to  have  too  much 
light,  but  profusion  is  less  desirable  than  arrangement, 
while  a  mere  glare  becomes  painful.  Gas  and  candles 
should  both  be  avoided  on  that  and  Other  accounts,  and  the 
best  media  for  lighting  are  carcelle,  or  moderator-lamps, 
covered  with  open  pink  muslin,  or  tarlatane,  which,  without 
diminishing,  softens  the  light.  The  principal  object  is  to 
throw  as  much  of  it  as  possible  on  the  table,  with  sufficient 
on  the  faces  of  the  guests.  Lighting  from  the  walls  is  apt 
to  throw  the  latter  into  shade,  and  a  chandelier  in  the 
middle  must  be  hung  very  low  to  do  justice  to  the  former. 
Lamps  on  the  table  itself  are  simply  unpardonable,  and 
must  on  no  account  be  admitted.  The  best  plan  is  to  have 
four  chandeliers,  containing  each  one  large  lamp,  and  hung 
over  the  places  where  the  four  corners  of  the  table  would 
come  if  it  were  a  parallelogram  instead  of  an  oval.  The 
rest  of  the  room,  however,  must  not  be  left  in  darkness, 
and  lamps  may  be  placed  on  the  side-board  and  side-tables. 
The  latter  must  be  very  neat,  and  both  should  be  orna- 
mented richly  with  flowers  rather  than  with  that  pompous 
display  of  plate  which  is  too  commonly  seen. 

A  few  words  about  servants  before  we  come  to  the  table 
itself.  "Women  wait  more  quietly  and  quite  as  actively  as 
men,  but  a  butler,  who  can  carve  well  and  rapidly,  is  in- 
dispensable. If,  however,  you  have  men-servants,  they 
should  not  be  too  many.  A  party  of  ten  can  be  perfectly 
well  served  by  two  men  and  a  butler,  and,  if  there  are  more 
than  these,  they  only  get  in  the  way  of  one  another,  or 
stand  pompously  by  staring  while  you  eat.  Your  servants 
should  be  well  trained  and  instructed,  and  should  obey 
every  order  given  by  the  butler.  A  master  or  mistress 
should  never  speak  to  them  at  dinner,  and  they  must  be 
themselves  as  silent  as  trappists.  They  should  wear  light 
shoes  that  cannot  creak,  and  if  they  have  a  napkin  instead 
of  gloves,  you  must  see  that  their  hands  are  perfectly  clean. 
They  should  have  their  "  beats "  like  policemen,  one 


ARRANGEMENT  OF  THE  TABLE.  309 

beginning  at  the  guest  on  his  master's  right  and  ending 
with  the  lady  of  the  house,  the  other  with  the  guest  on  his 
mistress's  right  ending  with  the  master. 

The  table,  on  which  all  eyes  are  turned,  is  the  next 
point.  Great  changes  have  taken  place  in  the  last  ten  or 
fifteen  years  in  its  arrangements,  and  as  the  Kussian  plan 
is  now  adopted  in  the  best  houses,  and  is,  at  the  same  time, 
the  most  elegant,  I  shall  not  stop  to  speak  of  any  other. 
The  main  point  is  to  secure  beauty  without  interfering  with 
conversation.  Given,  therefore,  a  table-cover,  and  a  white 
damask  table-cloth  over  it,  what  are  we  to  place  thereon  1 
First,  nothing  high  enough  to  come  between  the  heads  of 
any  two  of  the  party,  and  therefore  must  epergnes,  lamps, 
and  so  forth,  be  eschewed  as  nuisances.  Next,  that  which 
is  pleasant  and  agreeable  to  the  eye,  and  something  that  it 
can  dwell  upon  with  pleasure.  A  common  object  for  the 
centre  is  desirable,  and  this  should  be  some  work  of  art, 
of  Parian  or  china,  not  too  high  nor  too  large,  and  on  each 
side  towards  the  thin  ends  of  the  oval  should  be  bowls  of 
biscuit-ware  or  china,  filled  with  flowers ;  or,  to  be  elegant, 
you  may  have  two  little  table-fountains,  provided  their 
basins  are  low.  The  rest  of  the  table  must  be  covered  with 
dessert.  By  this  arrangement  plate  becomes  a  secondary 
matter,  and  indeed  a  display  of  massive  silver  is  rather 
chilling,  and  always  looks  ostentatious.  In  addition  to  the 
flowers  mentioned,  the  French  often  place  a  bouquet  on  the 
napkin  of  each  lady,  and  the  attention  is  certainly  a  pretty 
one.  The  place  for  each  guest  should  be  roomy,  but  not  too 
far  from  his  neighbours.  The  dinner-service  of  the  present 
day  may  be  reduced  to  plates  alone,  since  everything  else 
is  served  at  the  side-table.  I  am  inclined  to  think  that 
pure  white  china,  with  a  gilt  edge,  and  the  best  of  its  kind, 
is  the  fittest  service  to  dine  off,  but  this  is  a  matter  of  taste 
only.  At  any  rate,  the  dessert-service  should  be  handsome. 
Bachelors  at  dinner  have  a  great  advantage  in  having  their 
light  wine  placed  by  their  glasses  in  black  bottles,  but  in 
other  dinners  the  wine  is  handed.    It  will,  however,  be 


310  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DEN  N  EBP  ARTIES. 

well  on  all  occasions  to  have  sufficient  glasses  for  all  the 
wines  to  be  drank  placed  on  the  right  hand  of  each  plate, 
and  the  same  may  be  said  of  knives,  spoons,  and  forks. 
The  napkins  may  be  folded  according  to  fancy.  Sometimes 
they  are  placed  on  the  plate  with  a  roll  of  bread  inside,  and 
sometimes  arranged  in  a  fan-shape  in  the  champagne-glasses. 
For  my  own  part,  I  prefer  to  think  that  no  hands  have  been 
soiling  mine  before  I  use  it,  and  perhaps  the  most  elegant 
way  is  to  lay  them  on  the  table  or  plate  just  as  they  come 
from  the  washerwoman's. 

No  dish  but  those  of  dessert  is  placed  on  the  table.  I 
have  spoken  of  this,  in  the  chapter  on  accomplishments, 
under  the  head  of  carving,  and  shall  not  again  discuss  the 
question.  It  suffices  to  say  that  where  "  Ton  sait  diner" 
no  dish  is  either  carved  or  helped  at  table.  But  I  am  now 
going  to  recommend  the  revival  of  an  ancient  practice 
which  is  now  gone  out.  It  is  that  each  plate  should  be 
filled  with  soup  and  put  in  its  place  at  table,  at  the  very 
moment  that  the  guests  are  coming  into  the  room.  The 
object  of  this  is  to  enable  every  one  to  begin  dinner  at  the 
same  moment.  The  hungry  do  not  talk  well,  and  the 
warm  soup  at  once  revives  the  spirits  and  slakes  the 
appetite.  It  is  hard  on  a  man  to  expect  him  to  begin 
conversation  while  the  ladies  are  sipping  their  soup  and  he 
is  waiting  for  it.  Harmony  and  union  are  the  essentials  of 
dinner,  and  where  it  can  be  so  simply  obtained,  it  is  foolish 
to  neglect  it.  Yet  I  have  little  hope  that  this  practice  will 
be  adopted,  because  English  people  seem  to  think  more  of 
the  pomposity  than  the  comfort  of  their  dinner,  and  the 
butler  and  men  are  required  to  stand  and  look  grand  as  the 
guests  pass  in.  I  may  here  observe  that  the  object  of  soup 
being  to  "  take  the  chill  off "  the  appetite  and  prepare  the 
inner  man  for  the  reception  of  solids,  a  light  soup  is  better 
than  a  thick  ■  one,  which  clogs  the  appetite  ;  turtle  is  only 
fit  for  an  alderman,  and  your  soup  may  therefore  be  in- 
expensive. 

After  the  soup  the  wine.    Modem  Englishmen  have  so 


WINE. 


311 


far  improved  upon  their  ancestors,  that  they  no  longer  meet 
to  drink  but  to  dine,  and  the  amount  of  the  wine  is  there- 
fore of  far  less  importance  than  its  quality.  The  order  of 
the  wines,  reversing  that  of  the  solids,  is  from  the  lightest  to 
the  strongest.  The  author  of  the  Art  of  Dining  tells  us, 
that  "  sherry,  champagne,  port,  and  claret"  are  indispen- 
sable to  the  dinner-table.  I  should  be  inclined  to  knock 
off  two  of  these,  champagne  and  port,  and  put  in  a  light 
Rhenish  in  their  place.  Port  has  become  almost  an  impos- 
sibility, for  age  is  a  sine  qua  non  of  this  wine,  and  unless 
you  have  long  had  a  good  cellar,  you  have  very  little  chance 
of  obtaining  it  good.  In  fact,  though  still  placed  on  the 
table,  the  use  of  it  seems  to  be  restricted  to  a  few  old  gen- 
tlemen, who  cannot  give  up  their  customary  drink.  George 
the  Fourth  declared  for  sherry,  and  I  cannot  help  thinking 
he  was  right.  At  any  rate,  bad  port  is  less  drinkable  than 
bad  sherry,  and  as  you  will  too  often  have  only  this  choice 
of  evils,  I  beg  to  hint  how  the  alternative  may  be  most 
prudently  taken.  Champagne,  again,  should  be  very  good 
to  be  enjoyable,  and  it  is  also  becoming  more  and  more 
difficult  to  procure.  Both  port  and  champagne  are  doctored 
for  every  European  market,  and  a  friend  of  mine  visiting  a 
famous  wine-grower  at  Epernay,  tasted  from  the  same  cask 
no  less  than  five  different  wines,  all  manufactured  in  a  few 
hours  out  of  the  same  original  juice.  I  suspect  that  even 
an  English  wine-merchant  can  produce  as  many  different 
u  vintages"  from  the  same  stuff,  as  M.  Houdindoes  wines 
from  the  same  bottle. 

The  mingling  of  water  with  wine  is  said  to  have  been 
discovered  by  an  accident.  A  party  of  old  Greeks,  not 
famous  for  sobriety,  had  been  drinking  on  the  sea-shore, 
when  a  storm  arose,  and  in  rapid  haste  they  retreated  to  a 
cave  to  take  shelter.  Probably  they  were  not  in  a  fit  con- 
dition for  carrying  their  goblets  with  them  steadily.  At 
any  rate  they  left  them  on  the  shore,  and  when  the  storm 
was  over,  found  their  wine  converted  by  the  rain  into  wine 
and  water.  The  allegation  that  the  mixture  spoils  two  good 


312         DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

things,  as  two  good  people  are  sometimes  spoiled  by  mar- 
riage, is  one  which  a  tippler  will  support  more  zealously 
than  an  epicure.  Mr.  Walker,  in  the  "  Original,"  recom- 
mends even  port  and  water ;  but  however  this  may  be,  some 
Bordeaux  wines  gain,  rather  than  lose,  by  the  mixture,  and 
you  may  thus  have,  to  accompany  your  eating,  a  cooling 
drink  which  will  not  destroy  your  taste  for  the  good  wines 
to  follow  it.  A  sensible  man  avoids  variety  in  drinking. 
One  French  wine  during  dinner,  and  sherry  after  it,  or  a 
German  wine  for  the  meal,  and  claret  for  dessert,  will  leave 
you  much  happier  than  mingling  sherry,  champagne,  claret, 
and  port.  Great  care  should  be  used  in  decanting  wine,  so 
as  not  to  shake  or  cork  it.  Claret  appears  in  a  glass  jug, 
but  rare  French  wines,  particularly  Bourgogne  and  the  Vim 
du  Midi,  should  be  brought  up  and  placed  on  the  table  in 
their  baskets,  as  decanting  spoils  them.  Although  the  guest 
should  avoid  variety,  the  host  must  provide  it  in  order  to 
meet  the  tastes  of  all,  and  his  servants  should  be  taught  to 
pronounce  properly  the  names  of  the  different  foreign  wines, 
which  are  often  so  indistinct  that  we  are  led  into  taking  a 
white  one  when  we  wanted  red,  or  a  French  one  when  we 
expected  Rhenish 

The  bachelor  has  the  great  privilege  of  drinking  beer  at 
dinner,  if  he  likes  it.  I  cannot  conceive  how  so  good  and 
harmless  an  accompaniment  of  eating  came  to  be  excluded 
from  the  well-served  table,  unless  from  a  vulgar  fancy  that 
what  is  not  expensive  should  not  be  set  before  a  guest, 
however  good  it  may  be.  How  happy  people  with  these 
notions  would  be  in  Ceylon,  where  Bass  costs  nearly  a  shil- 
ling a  glass.  This  reminds  me  of  a  story  of  some  vulgar 
man  whose  name  I  have  forgotten,  and  do  not  care  to  re- 
member. His  host  simply  enough  said  to  his  guest,  "  This 
wine  cost  me  six  shillings  a  bottle."  "  Did  if?"  cried  the 
other,  "  then  pass  it  round,  and  let's  have  another  six- 
penn'orth."  The  connoisseur  of  beer  rightly  judges  that  it 
is  spoiled  by  bottling  \  draught  beer  is  also  the  more  whole- 
some.   A  glass  of  old  port  is  generally  substituted  for  the 


FISH. 


313 


beer  with  cheese,  but  the  drink  which  the  German  student, 
an  ardent  lover  of  it,  tells  you  was  discovered  by 

"  Gabrantins  Kbnig  von  Brabant 
Der  zuerst  das  Bier  erfand," 

is  its  more  natural  accompaniment. 

If  there  were  no  other  advantage  in  the  Russian  system, 
as  it  is  called,  it  would  be  worth  adopting,  only  because  it 
enables  the  dinner-giver  to  offer  more  variety,  instead  of 
forcing  him  to  sacrifice  taste  to  the  appearance  of  his  dishes. 
Thus  the  turbot  and  the  cod  were  once  becoming  standing 
dishes  at  all  English  dinners,  and  small  fish  were  banished 
because  they  did  not  put  in  a  majestic  appearance.  Yet 
there  are  many  better  fish  than  cod  and  turbot,  and  there 
are  many  ways  of  dressing  fish  which  may  not  be  so  agree- 
able to  the  eye  as  to  the  palate.  Then,  again,  how  exquisite 
is  the  flavour  of  some  fresh-water  fish,  and  of  several  kinds 
of  shell-fish,  which  we  so  seldom  see  at  great  dinners  !  How 
much  better  the  variety  of  trout,  perch  in  souchet,  fried 
gudgeons,  even  eels,  mussels,  and  lampreys  (both  of  which 
must  be  moderately  indulged  in,  the  one  producing  very 
often  a  rush  on  the  face,  which  is  cured  by  large  quantities 
of  fresh  milk,  and  the  other  being  notorious  as  a  regicide, 
which  those  who  read  the  commonest  history  of  England  will 
remember),  than  that  perpetual  turbot.  In  fact,  no  kind  of 
eating  can  be  more  varied  than  that  of  fish ;  yet,  by  sticking 
to  antique  traditions,  we  deprive  ourselves  of  the  enjoyment 
of  all  the  wealth  of  sea  and  stream.  There  are  scores  of 
ways  of  dressing  them  all  too,  which  you  can  learn  in  any 
good  cookery-book,  and  almost  any  fish  can  be  made  not 
only  eatable  but  delicious  by  clever  cooking.  But  vulgarity 
has  driven  many  a  good  but  cheap  eatable  from  the  table  of 
the  rich  ;  and  the  Duke  of  Rutland  was  quite  right  to  give 
Poodle  Byng  his  conge,  when  one  of  these  despised  delicacies 
appeared  at  the  Duke's  table,  and  Poodle  exclaimed,  "  Ah  ! 
my  old  friend  haddock !  I  have  not  seen  a  haddock  on  a 
gentleman's  table  since  I  was  a  boy."  Oysters,  though  eaten 
2  R 


314         DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 


at  dinner  in  France,  are  properly  excluded  from  table  in 
England,  as  being  much  too  heating,  and  carp  is  very  indi- 
gestible ;  but  there  are  the  Devonshire  John  Dory,  a  far 
better  fish  than  turbot,  red  mullets,  salmon-trout,  whitings, 
smelt,  mackerel,  sturgeon,  the  favourite  of  the  Emperor  of 
China,  and  even  sprats  and  herrings,  to  form  a  variety  be- 
sides those  mentioned  before. 

But  our  chief  thanks  to  the  new  system  are  due  for  its 
ostracizing  that  unwieldy  barbarism — the  joint.  Nothing 
can  make  a  joint  look  elegant,  while  it  hides  the  master  of 
the  house,  and  condemns  him  to  the  misery  of  carving.  I 
was  much  amused  at  the  observations  of  a  writer  on  the 
subject  of  dinners,  who  objected  to  flowers  on  the  table,  "  be- 
cause we  don't  eat  flowers,  and  everything  that  is  on  the  table 
ought  to  be  eatable."  At  this  rate  the  cook  would  have  to 
dish  up  the  epergnes  and  candelabra.  But  the  truth  is,  that 
unless  our  appetites  are  very  keen,  the  sight  of  much  meat 
reeking  in  its  gravy  is  sufficient  to  destroy  them  entirely, 
and  a  huge  joint  especially  is  calculated  to  disgust  the 
epicure.  If  joints  are  eaten  at  all,  they  should  be  placed 
on  the  side-table,  where  they  will  be  out  of  sight. 

Vegetables  should  properly  be  served  separately  on  a  clean 
plate  after  the  roast,  but  when  served  with  it,  a  guest  should 
be  satisfied  with  at  most  two  kinds  at  a  time,  nothing 
showing  worse  taste  than  to  load  your  plate.  Asparagus, 
pease,  artichokes,  haricots,  vegetable  marrows,  and  spinach 
ought,  if  not  a  component  part  of  a  made  dish,  to  be  served 
separately.  There  are  many  ways  of  dressing  potatoes  and 
carrots,  which  last  are  a  vegetable  much  neglected  at  English 
tables,  but  when  quite  young,  and  dressed  with  butter  in 
the  French  fashion,  a  delicious  eatable,  and  a  preventive  of 
jaundice,  which  should  recommend  them  strongly  to  profes- 
sional diners-out. 

But  I  am  not  a  cook,  and  cannot  go  through  every 
course  with  you.  It  must  suffice  to  say,  that  the  dishes 
should  not  be  too  many,  and  that  good  cooking  and 
management  make  a  better  dinner  than  either  profusion  or 


THE  ORDER  OF  DINNER. 


315 


expenditure,  or  delicacies  out  of  season.  The  main  points 
are  originality  and  rarity,  and  to  have  the  best  of  every- 
thing, or  not  have  it  at  all.  Perhaps  the  strangest  dinner 
I  ever  ate  was  in  tete-drtete  with  a  bachelor  of  small  ap- 
petite. There  were  but  two  courses.  To  the  first  we  stood 
up,  opening  our  own  oysters,  and  devouring  them  till  we 
could  eat  no  more.  The  second  course,  to  which  we  sat 
down,  consisted  of  a  dozen  marrow-bones,  of  which  we  each 
discussed  six.  They  were  as  hot  as  they  could  be,  and 
excellent.  A  variety  of  vegetables  completed  this  light 
repast,  and  though  I  could  have  dined  more  largely,  I  was 
bound  to  confess  that  my  friend  had  given  me  a  dinner 
which  I  should  scarcely  have  got  elsewhere.  Lest  you 
should  be  tempted  to  offer  a  similar  repast  to  a  large  party, 
I  must  warn  you  that  the  marrow-bone  is  not  considered  a 
presentable  dish,  and  that  the  marrow  must  be  extracted  by 
a  special  kind  of  spoon,  of  which  a  clean  one  is  required  for 
every  bone. 

Brillat  Savarin  says,  that  the  order  of  the  solids  should 
be  from  the  heaviest  to  the  lightest.  This  is  not  strictly 
observed  either  in  France  or  England,  and  it  may  be  useful 
to  know  what  is  the  order  generally  adopted  in  this  country. 
It  is  as  follows  : — 

1.  Soup. 

2.  Fish, 

3.  Patties  (of  oysters,  lobsters,  shrimps,  or  minced  veal). 

4.  Made-dishes,  or  entrees,  which  include  poultry. 

5.  The  roast,  or  piece  de  resistance. 

6.  Vegetables. 

7.  The  game. 

8.  Pastry,  puddings,  omelettes. 

9.  The  ice. 
10.  The  dessert. 

The  salad  ought  to  have,  but  seldom  has  a  place  in  this 
list,  namely,  after  the  ice,  and  with  cheese.  When  made 
as  a  mayonnaise,  that  is  with  chicken,  cold  fish,  or  shell- 
fish, it  comes  in  as  a  made-dish.    But  a  pure  salad,  well 


316  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

dressed,  is  "  a  dish  to  set  before  a  king,"  and  that  you  may 
be  able  to  dress  it  yourself,  and  we  may  finish  our  dinner 
with  cheerfulness,  I  give  you  Sydney  Smith's  receipt  to 
learn  by  heart, — 

"Two  large  potatoes,  pass'd  through  kitchen  sieve, 
Unwonted  softness  to  the  salad  give. 
Of  mordent  mustard,  add  a  single  spoon ; 
Distrust  the  condiment  which  bites  too  soon  : 
But  deem  it  not,  thou  man  of  herbs,  a  fault 
To  add  a  double  quantity  of  salt. 
Three  times  the  spoon  with  oil  of  Lucca  crown, 
And  once  with  vinegar  procured  from  town ; 
True  flavour  needs  it,  and  your  poet  begs 
The  pounded  yellow  of  two  well-boil'd  eggs. 
Let  onion  atoms  lurk  within  the  bowl, 
And,  scarce  suspected,  animate  the  whole ; 
And  lastly,  on  the  favour'd  compound  toss 
A  magic  spoonful  of  anchovy  sauce. 
Then,  though  green  turtle  fail,  though  venison's  tough, 
And  ham  and  turkey  are  not  boil'd  enough, 
Serenely  full,  the  epicure  may  say — 
Fate  cannot  harm  me — I  have  dined  to  day ! " 

Well,  dinner  is  done,  but  not  the  diners.  There  remains 
on  the  table  what  is  a  whole  dinner  in  Italy,  and  what  is 
dinner  enough  for  a  poet — fruit  and  wine.  Talking  of 
poets,  though,  reminds  me  that  their  chameleon  existence 
is  only  a  poetic  license.  Byron,  who  dined  off  potatoes 
and  vinegar  in  public,  generally  rewarded  himself  in 
private  with  an  unspiritual  beef-steak,  and  "cut  from 
the  joint;"  and  the  poets  of  "olden  time,"  by  which  I 
mean  the  days  of  eating  in  Athens  and  Rome,  were  also 
the  parasites  of  the  feast3  and  for  a  stave  or  two,  gladly 
accepted  a  steak  or  two,  just  as  some  later  poets  have 
dined  with  my  Lord  to-day,  on  the  tacit  understanding  that 
they  should  write  him  a  dedication  to-morrow.  In  fact, 
Grub  Street  was  not  inappropriately  named,  if  slang  be 
English  ;  and  most  of  our  own  poets, — Moore  and  Rogers, 


GRACE. 


317 


e.g., — have  been  careful  diners.  But,  then,  the  legend  which 
made  Minerva  spring  from  the  head  of  Jupiter,  has  long 
been  proved  a  good-natured  mistake,  destined  to  encourage 
"  our  minion  lyricists,"  and  there  is  now  no  doubt  that  the 
muse  of  song  and  literature  had  as  large  a  corporation  as 
any  other  of  the  nine.  What  else  is  the  meaning  of 
"  writing  for  bread  % " 

But  stop,  I  had  nearly  forgotten  Grace.  Well,  that  is 
nothing  very  extraordinary,  for  the  thanksgiving  is  posi- 
tively the  last  thing  thought  of  by  the  diner,  and  when  it 
is  remembered,  it  is  too  often  reduced  to  a  mere  formality. 
What  ridiculous  mockeries  are  the  long  Latin  graces  through 
which  we  had  to  stand  at  college,  and  the  chanted  graces 
at  public  dinners  !  If  a  man  be  really  thankful  to  God  for 
what  he  gives  him,  a  few  thoughts,  not  words,  best  express 
it ;  but  if  words  be  necessary,  let  them  be  short  and  solemn, 
that  each  one's  heart  may  echo  them.  Dr.  Johnson  was 
well  reproved  in  his  formal  religion,  when  his  wife  told  him 
it  was  of  no  use  to  ask  his  Maker  to  make  him  truly  thank- 
ful, when  the  next  moment  he  would  sit  down  and  abuse 
every  dish  on  the  table ;  and  what  was  said  to  Johnson 
may  be  said  to  many  a  pampered  diner-out,  and  to  many  a 
grumbling  father  of  a  family :  "  Better  a  dry  morsel  where 
love  is,  than  a  stalled  ox,  and" — let  me  adapt  it  to  the 
present  day — "grumbling  therewith."  How  often  does  a 
man  say  the  words  of  his  grace,  and  soon  after  find  fault 
with  the  dinner,  ungrateful  alike  to  his  host  and  his  Maker. 
But,  as  far  as  etiquette  goes,  there  is  only  this  to  be  said, — 
that  the  audible  grace  is  spoken  by  the  master  of  the  feast, 
or  if  a  clergyman  be  present,  by  him.  So  in  India  a 
Brahmin  was  always  invited  to  bless  the  banquet,  and  give 
it  the  sanction  of  his  presence. 

The  etiquettes  of  dinner  are  not  very  numerous.  We 
have  already  spoken  in  Chapter  vii.  of  the  manners  proper 
at  the  dinner-table.  We  have  now  to  consider  a  few  duties 
of  host  and  guest. 

Punctuality  may  be  the  soul  of  business,  but  it  is  also 


318  DINNERS,  DINEKS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

that  of  knife-and-fork  play.  Everybody  must  be  punctual 
at  the  great  event  of  the  day.  "  Dinner,"  said  a  French 
cook,  "is  the  hope  of  the  hungry,  the  occupation  of  the 
idle,  the  rest  of  the  weary,  and  the  consolation  of  the 
miserable  ! "  Can  any  one  be  guilty  of  delaying  such  a 
moment  ?  The  Romans  complained  that  before  the  sun-dial 
was  discovered,  one  dined  when  hunger  ordered,  but  after- 
wards hunger  had  to  wait  for  time.  In  our  modern  dining- 
rooms,  we  have  little  fear  that  hunger  will  annoy  any  one, 
but  sometimes  a  delay  may  occur  which  may  make  hunger 
a  very  intimate  acquaintance.  Thus,  Cambaceres,  one  of 
the  best  dinner-givers  of  his  day,  once  kept  his  guests  wait- 
ing three  hours,  while  he  was  engaged  on  state  business ; 
and  Walpole  relates  how  he  once  had  to  wait  nearly  four 
hours  for  dinner  at  Northumberland  House,  because  the 
Lords  were  reading  the  Poor  Bill.  The  guests  sat  down  at 
last  without  the  Peers,  but  had  not  done  when  the  legislators 
tumbled  in  and  had  the  whole  dinner  served  up  again.  This 
dinner  had  been  fixed  for  the  then  fashionable  hour  of  five, 
and  did  not  finish  till  eleven.  However,  this  was  more 
excusable  than  the  case  of  a  late  nobleman,  who  was  seen 
mounting  his  horse  for  his  afternoon  ride,  just  as  his  guests 
assembled  in  the  drawing-room. 

Next  to  the  host  and  hostess,  the  cook  ought  to  be 
punctual.  But  the  guest's  arrival  is  more  important  still  : 
and  the  guest  has  no  excuse,  because  from  the  merest 
selfishness,  or  want  of  consideration,  he  may  put  a  whole 
party  to  inconvenience.  The  invited  having  arrived,  the 
lady  receives  them  in  the  drawing-room,  and  the  conversa- 
tion is  necessarily  more  or  less  formal,  for  everybody  is 
waiting  for  the  event.  At  last  a  servant  announces  that 
dinner  is  ready.  It  is  then  the  part  of  the  host  to  pair  off 
the  guests.  He  himself  takes  down  the  lady  of  the  highest 
rank,  or  the  greatest  stranger.  Distinctions  of  rank  are 
going  out  in  good  society,  although  precedence  exists  just 
as  a  herald's  office  does ;  but  it  may  generally  be  said  that 
age  has  the  real  precedence,  and  a  lady  of  advanced  years 


DINNER  ETIQUETTE. 


319 


should  not  be  put  behind  any  one  of  rank  under  royal  blood. 
The  most  intimate  with  the  family  take  the  lowest,  the  least 
so,  the  highest  place.  At  dinner,  the  gentleman  sits  to  the 
right  of  the  lady,  so  that  the  arrangement  is  easily  made. 
In  France  there  is  no  procession  of  this  kind,  and  the 
awkwardness  of  precedence  is  thus  avoided.  There,  all  the 
guests  enter  pell-mell,  and  find  their  names  written  on 
papers  placed  on  their  napkins.  Besides  these  papers  a 
bill  of  fare  is  placed  on  each  plate,  when  the  dinner  is  really 
good,  and  the  dinner-giver  an  epicure. 

It  is  the  duty  of  the  host  to  lead  the  conversation  as 
much  as  possible,  and  it  is  still  more  his  duty  to  make  it 
general.  As,  however,  this  art  is  little  understood  by  Eng- 
lishmen, a  man  will  generally  have  to  talk  more  or  less  to 
the  lady  on  his  left.  He  must  take  care  not  to  neglect 
her  for  the  one  on  his  right,  however  charming  the  latter 
may  be.  The  dinner  over,  and  the  servants  dismissed,  the 
ladies  sit  for  a  short  time  at  dessert  and  then  retire  ;  the 
youngest  man  in  the  room  rises  to  open  the  door  for  them, 
and  all  the  rest  rise  and  stand  by  their  chairs.  Then  comes 
the  "  drawing-round,"  and  the  conversation  grows  lighter 
and  easier.  But  young  men  and  old  should  beware  of 
making  it  too  light,  or  of  running,  as  our  barristers  often 
do,  into  stories  that  are  unfit  for  ladies'  ears. 

A  true  gentleman  will  be  the  same  in  ladies'  society  as 
he  is  out  of  it.  A  young  man  should  not  linger  over  his 
wine,  and  he  may  rise  and  leave  the  dining-room  before  the 
others  go.  But  it  remains  with  the  host  to  offer  to  "join 
the  ladies,"  which  he  should  do  whenever  he  sees  any  one 
growing  warm  over  his  port  and  talking  too  freely.  Coffee 
and  tea  are  both  served  up  stairs,  and  both  should  be  hot. 
Coffee  is  drunk  without  milk  and  with  sugar ;  tea,  by  those 
who  know  how  to  enjoy  it,  without  either ;  but  they  are 
the  rarce  aves  of  society,  men  who  know  what  is  good  and 
enjoy  it  quietly.  A  little  green  tea  is  necessary  after  wine, 
for  it  awakens  and  excites.  No  man  should  drink  enough 
wine  to  make  him  feel  too  easy  with  the  ladies.    If  he  has 


320  DINNERS,  DINERS,  AND  DINNER-PARTIES. 

done  so  without  feeling  its  effects,  he  had  better  go  home 
before  he  goes  up  to  the  drawing-room.  In  France  the 
gentlemen  come  away  with  the  ladies,  and  there  is  no  wine- 
drinking.  In  England  the  custom  is  dwindling  down  to  a 
mere  form,  and  the  shorter  you  remain  after  the  departure 
of  the  ladies  the  better.  But  remember,  that  many  meats 
require  as  much  as  four  hours  to  digest,  and  that  the  best 
aid  to  digestion  is  lively,  easy  conversation.  A  dinner  party 
breaks  up  at  about  eleven.  There  should  be  a  little  music 
in  the  evening ;  but  it  is  a  great  mistake  to  have  a  regular 
evening  party  after  a  dinner.  At  eleven  you  go  home, 
and  having  had  a  walk,  put  on  your  white  neck-tie  for  the 
next  event  of  the  evening,  which  is  discussed  in  the  thir- 
teenth chapter. 


CHAPTER  XII. 


LADIES  AT  A  DINNER. 

We  have  next  to  consider  a  lady  in  the  all-important 
character  of  a  hostess  at  a  dinner  party. 

Her  first  duty  in  this  capacity  is  to  send  out  her  invita- 
tions in  due  time  and  proper  form.  With  regard  to  the 
time,  it  is  necessary,  during  the  height  of  the  London  sea- 
son, to  send  an  invitation  three  weeks  before  the  dinner 
party ;  but,  in  the  quiet  season  of  the  year,  or  in  the  coun- 
try, it  is  neither  essential  to  do  so,  nor  usual.  The  best 
plan  for  persons  who  give  many  dinner-parties,  is  to  have 
a  plate  with  their  names  and  invitations  printed  thus  : — 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  - — 
Bequest  the  favour  of 

Mr.  and  Mrs.  's 

Company  at  dinner  on  the  

at  o'clock. 

In  writing  to  persons  of  rank  far  above  your  own,  or  to 
clergymen  of  high  dignity,  such  as  bishops  and  deans,  the 
word  "  honour"  should  be  substituted  for  "  favour." 

These  invitations  should  properly  be  sent  by  a  servant, 
and  not  by  the  post,  unless  the  distance  be  great. 

Next  comes  the  choice  of  guests,  thus  assembled,  to  sit 
in  close  contact  for  two  hours  or  more. 

This  involves  many  considerations.  If  your  guests  do 
not  assimilate,  no  luxury  of  dinners,  no  perfection  of  man- 
ners on  your  part,  can  avert  a  failure.  Yet  so  little  is  this 
321  2  s 


322 


LADIES  AT  A  DINNER. 


understood,  that  there  are  persons  who  collect,  as  it  "would 
seem,  a  party  so  discordant  as  to  provoke  a  question 
whether  they  had  not  shaken  them  all  in  a  bag  together, 
and  turned  them  out  loose  upon  each  other — the  man  of 
easy  principles  with  the  serious  doctor  of  divinity  ;  the  man 
of  talent  with  a  rich  and  mindless  merchant ;  the  quiet 
country  family  with  the  trashy  London  dashers,  and  so  on ; 
and  these  solecisms  in  taste  and  discretion  occur  frequently. 
Nor  ought  the  worldly  positions  of  people  to  be  the  sole 
consideration.  Many  a  nobleman  will  assimilate  far  better 
with  the  poor  author  than  with  the  millionaire  ;  wealth, 
simply  because  it  is  wealth,  gains  little  prestige  in  good 
circles ;  there  is  a  prejudice  against  the  nouveau  riches 
among  the  old  families  of  England.  Neither  is  it  desirable 
to  club  all  your  aristocratic  or  fashionable  acquaintance  to- 
gether ;  you  offend  by  so  doing,  those  who  are  left  out ; 
and  many  lose  valuable  friends  who,  however  conscious  they 
may  be  of  an  inferior  position,  do  not  like  to  be  reminded 
of  it.  It  is  something,  too,  to  avoid  giving  pain  to  the 
feelings  of  others. 

The  general  rule,  however,  is  to  invite  persons  of  nearly 
the  same  standing  in  society  to  meet  at  dinner ;  taking  care 
that  their  general  views  and  mode  of  life  are  not  so  con- 
trasted as  to  be  likely  to  clash.  In  the  country,  difference 
of  politics  used  to  form  a  barrier ;  Whig  and  Tory,  even  if 
they  sat  at  table  together,  would  scarcely  drink  wine  with 
each  other.  But  all  that  inconvenience  to  host  and  hostess 
has  long  since  passed  away,  and  to  the  facilities  of  form- 
ing a  party  the  custom  of  no  longer  asking  any  one  to  take 
wine  has  contributed. 

Those  who  wish  to  form  agreeable  dinner-parties  will 
avoid  a  class  :  a  dinner  composed  of  officers  only  and  their 
wives  recalls  too  forcibly  barrack  life  ;  "  talking  pipe-clay," 
as  they  term  it,  is  as  fatiguing  as  "the  ship,"  though 
not  so  vulgar.  Wives  of  officers,  in  marching  regiments, 
have  generally  travelled  far,  and  seen  nothing  :  they  can 
tell  you -little  but  how  bad  their  quarters  were;  and  how 


SELECTION  OF  GUESTS. 


323 


they  were  hurried  away  from  such  and  such  a  place.  The 
gentlemen  of  the  bar,  sprinkled  about,  make  a  charming 
spice  to  a  dinner ;  but,  like  all  spices,  one  must  not  have 
too  much  of  them :  they  want  keeping  down,  otherwise 
you  have  your  dining-room  turned  into  Westminster  Hall ; 
or  you  feel,  if  you  venture  to  talk  yourself,  as  if  you  were 
subjecting  yourself  to  a  cross-examination.  Yet  the  late 
Lord  Grenville  remarked,  that  he  was  always  glad  to  meet 
a  lawyer  at  a  dinner-party,  for  he  was  then  sure  that  some 
good  topic  would  be  started.  The  title  of  doctor  is  against 
the  fascination  of  a  physician's  manners ;  his  very  atten- 
tions may  seem  to  have  an  interested  air,  since  the  doctor's 
clients  are  in  society.  A  conclave  of  doctors  is  even  more 
formidable  than  one  of  lawyers,  for  the  former  have  only  to 
deal  with  the  constitution  of  the  state,  and  the  latter  are 
looking,  perhaps,  at  your  constitution,  and  privately  con- 
demning it.  A  party  wholly  composed  of  clergymen  is 
perhaps  worse  ;  delightful  as  companions,  valuable  as 
friends,  as  many  clergymen  are,  when  assembled  they  run 
naturally  into  topics  we  do  not  wish  to  have  familiarized. 
Secular  interests  peep  out  from  those  we  esteem  sacred  ; 
the  pleasures  of  gastronomy,  which  are  as  fully  appreciated 
by  the  clergy  as  by  any  other  class,  seem  so  little  to  accord 
with  the  spirit-stirring  eloquence  we  heard  last  Sunday, 
that  we  regret  having  met  our  "  venerable  rector"  under 
such  circumstances. 

"  Perhaps,"  says  Dr.  Johnson,  "  good-breeding  consists 
in  having  no  particular  mark  of  any  profession,  but  a  general 
elegance  of  manners."  On  this  principle  of  generalizing 
should  dinner-parties  be  formed. 

In  high  English  society,  to  quote  that  accomplished 
member  of  society,  Mr.  Hay  ward,  in  his  Treatise  on  Codes 
of  Manners,  any  calling  was  some  few  years  since  deroga- 
tory to  the  perfect  character  of  a  gentleman  ;  it  is  now 
otherwise.  Yet  the  distinction  of  the  aristocratic  profes- 
sions, as  opposed  to  other  callings,  is  maintained,  and  it  will 
perhaps  continue  to  be  so.    These  are  the  churchy  the  bar, 


324 


LADIES  AT  A  DINNER. 


the  higher  walks  of  medicine,  the  army  and  navy.  The 
different  members  of  these  professions  and  their  wives  and 
families  are  therefore  fit  for  any  society  ;  there  is  no 
possible  objection  to  their  mixing  at  a  dinner-table  with 
nobility,  provided  they  be  well-bred  and  agreeable.  The 
literary  man,  if  a  gentleman  by  education  and  manners,  is 
always  an  agreeable  addition  ;  and  the  highest  in  rank 
have  in  this  country  set  the  example  of  inviting  artists, 
architects,  and  sculptors,  but  not  always  their  families,  to 
their  tables. 

Great  eminence  in  talents  sets  aside  distinctions  ;  and 
"  the  first  class  of  millionaires,"  Mr.  Hay  ward  assures  us, 
"  rise  superior  to  rules."  But  it  is  not  in  good  taste  to 
follow  out  this  last  maxim,  unless  high  personal  character, 
the  good  employment  of  vast  wealth,  and  a  gentlemanly 
bearing,  accompany  riches.  The  lady,  whose  talk  about 
"  bigotry  and  virtue "  was  the  amusement  of  the  clubs 
some  years  since,  had  no  right,  in  regard  to  her  husband's 
position  and  character,  to  be  associated,  as  she  was,  with 
women  of  high  rank  or  of  old  patrician  families ;  the  varnish 
has  since  been  taken  off  the  picture,  and  it  has  sunk  down 
to  its  original  value,  after  having  been  at  a  fabidous  estima- 
tion in  the  social  mart. 

The  next  points  refer  to  the  duties  of  a  lady  on  the 
arrival  of  the  guests  at  the  house.  She  remains  in  some 
convenient  part  of  her  drawing-room,  and  too  much  cannot 
be  said  of  the  importance  of  her  being  dressed  some  time 
before  the  party  arrives.  Want  of  attention  in  this  respect, 
though  very  much  less  thought  of  now  than  formerly,  is  a 
real  breach  of  good  manners.  Neither  should  her  daughters, 
should  she  have  any,  come  dropping  in  one  by  one,  but 
should  be  seated,  ready  to  receive  the  visitors. 

Previously,  however,  to  her  going  up  to  dress,  the  lady 
of  the  house  should  have  arranged,  with  some  consideration, 
who  is  to  take  precedence. 

1.  With  respect  to  persons  of  title.  These  take  pre- 
cedence according  to  their  titles  ;  but,  should  there  be 


PRECEDENCE. 


325 


diplomatic  foreigners  of  the  first  class,  they  go  out  first ;  or, 
should  there  be  a  bishop  and  his  wife,  precedence  is  usually 
given  to  them  by  courtesy,  even  over  dukes  and  marquises  ; 
bishops  ranking  with  earls.*  The  same  courtesy  is  ex- 
tended to  all  the  dignified  clergy  ;  whilst  the  wives  of  all 
the  clergy  take  precedence  of  the  wives  of  barristers ;  and 
the  wives  of  the  esquires,  without  professions  or  trade,  take 
precedence  of  both  clergymen's  and  barristers'  wives. 
These  distinctions  are  seldom,  it  is  true,  rigorously  to  be 
pursued,  but  it  is  convenient  to  know  them  ;  it  is  as  well, 
also,  especially  to  remember  that  the  wives  of  clergymen 
and  of  barristers,  by  right,  take  precedence  of  the  untitled 
wives  of  military  and  naval  men.  There  is  no  place  speci- 
fied for  physicians,  who,  however,  are  ranked  in  the  house- 
holds of  the  royal  family  next  to  the  knights,  and  whose 
wives,  therefore,  go  out  after  those  of  the  barristers. 

These  seem  to  be  worldly  and  unimportant  rules  ;  but 
whatever  prevents  mistakes,  ill-will,  and  the  possibility  of 
doing  a  rude  action  without  intention,  comes  under  the 
comprehensive  head — "  How  to  be  civil  with  ease."  Be- 
sides, although  in  friendly  society,  as  it  is  called,  a  breach 
of  etiquette  might  not  signify,  there  is  so  much  that  is 
unfriendly,  so  much  in  which  criticism  stalks  among  the 
company  seeking  whose  conduct  he  may  challenge,  that  a 
hostess  should  be  perfectly  armed  with  every  defence  against 
comment. 

As  her  guests  enter  she  should  advance  half-way  to  meet 
them.  This  is  a  point  of  politeness ;  and  a  lady  in  a  county 
near  London  gave  great  offence  once  at  her  first  dinner,  by 
standing  with  one  arm  on  her  mantel -piece,  waiting  till  her 
company  came  up  to  her.  All  the  chairs  should  be  ready, 
so  that  there  should  be  no  placing  or  needless  confusion  ; 
but,  should  any  change  in  the  arrangement  of  the  rooms 
be  requisite,  it  should  be  made  by  the  butler  or  by  the 


*  See  Lodge's  Orders  for  Precedency.  An  archbishop  ranks  with 
a  duke. 


326 


LADIES  AT  A  DINNER. 


gentleman  of  the  house.  The  lady  of  the  house  should  do 
nothing  but  receive,  converse,  and  look  as  well  as  she  can. 
To  this  end  her  room  and  all  the  minutiae  should  be  taste- 
fully arranged.  A  distribution  of  natural  flowers  adds 
greatly  to  the  gaiety  of  a  drawing-room,  how  richly  or 
poorly  soever  it  may  be  furnished  :  people  are  apt  to  forget 
in  England,  what  is  never  forgoTten  in  France,  how  greatly 
the  style  and  arrangement  of  furniture  contribute  to  make 
a  party  go  off  well,  and  those  engaged  in  it  look  well,  of 
which  pleasing  fact  people  often  have  a  sort  of  intuitive 
conviction,  even  without  the  aid  of  the  looking-glass. 

And  now  the  test  of  good-breeding  in  a  hostess  is  to  be 
detected  ;  it  is  often  a  severe  one.  Her  guests  may  arrive 
all  at  once,  she  must  not  be  hurried,  yet  each  and  all  must 
feel  that  they  have  her  individual  attention.  She  must 
have  something  pleasing  and  cheerful  to  say  to  every  one, 
but  she  must  not  say  or  do  too  much.  Perhaps  her  guests 
are  late,  or  perhaps,  worst  martyrdom  of  all,  her  servants 
are  late  in  announcing  dinner.  She  chafes  inwardly  ;  but 
still,  feeling  as  if  on  a  stage,  with  an  army  of  observation 
around  her,  she  bears  up  ;  strikes  out  new  subjects  ;  ap- 
pears as  if  still  expecting  some  one ;  no,  nothing  is  to  go 
wrong  with  her  ;  be  it  ever  really  so  wrong  that  day,  she 
must  not  seem  to  notice  it. 

It  may  be  argued  that  this  implies  a  degree  of  self- 
restraint  akin  to  dissimulation  ;  but  that  is  an  error ; 
self-restraint  does  not  imply  dissimulation.  At  length 
dinner  is  announced ;  perhaps  a  few  minutes  previously  some 
reckless  youth,  or  sexagenarian,  but  probably  the  former, 
since  the  being  too  late  for  dinner  is  not  commonly  the  fault 
of  age,  comes  breathlessly  in.  I  am  shocked  to  say  I  have 
seen  married  ladies  look  very  much  out  of  temper  at  the 
delinquent  on  such  occasions,  especially  if  he  happened  to 
be  "some  one  we  must  ask" — a  youth  from  college,  or  a 
country  cousin — and  I  have  heard  the  gentleman  call  out 
"  dinner"  to  the  servant  before  the  door  was  closed.  The 
French  host  and  hostess  would  die  rather.    In  a  well- 


GOING  TO  DINNEK. 


327 


arranged  party  the  butler  should  have  a  list  of  the  guests, 
so  that  he  may  know,  as  one  after  another  comes  in,  that 
he  may  be  placing  the  silver  dishes  with  hot  water  in  them 
on  the  table,  arranging  the  lights,  and  doing  many  little 
things  that  require  time,  and,  if  omitted,  cause  delay. 

The  party  being  assembled,  and  dinner  announced,  the 
gentleman  of  the  house  offers  the  lady  of  the  highest  rank 
his  arm,  and,  having  previously  arranged  with  the  other 
gentlemen  which  ladies  they  are  to  conduct,  moves  off  with 
the  one  he  has  chosen  to  the  dinner-table,  and  places  her 
on  his  right  hand,  next  to  himself. 

The  gentleman  appointed  to  conduct  the  lady  of  the 
house  almost  simultaneously  offers  her  his  arm  ;  they  fol- 
low, and  are  followed  in  their  turn  by  the  whole  of  the 
company,  linked  by  previous  arrangement.  As  these  various 
couples  enter,  the  master  of  the  house,  already  in  the  dining- 
room,  arranges  where  they  are  to  sit.  Sometimes,  however, 
and  in  certain  houses,  this  is  not  done,  but,  more  graces 
fully  I  think,  the  party  seat  themselves  as  they  enter ;  a 
due  sacrifice  to  the  rules  of  etiquette  having  been  made 
by  the  master  and  mistress  of  the  house  in  their  own 
persons. 

It  is  still  customary,  but  not  invariably  so,  as  formerly, 
for  a  lady  to  sit  at  the  head  of  her  own  table.  Let  us, 
however,  suppose  her  there,  as  being  the  most  frequent 
arrangement. 

Henceforth  she  has  nothing  to  do  with  the  dinner,  except 
to  partake  of  it.  In  old  times,  the  lady  presiding  was 
expected  to  carve  every  dish  before  her,  and  to  be  perfect 
in  the  art  of  carving.  Lady  Mary  Montagu,  presiding  at 
her  father's  table,  was  condemned,  at  fifteen,  to  perform 
this  feat  whenever  her  father  had  a  party.  Had  she  lived 
now  she  need  never  have  touched  a  spoon,  fork,  or  knife, 
except  those  on  her  own  plate ;  her  lovely  face  might 
have  beamed  serenely  on  those  around  her ;  and  her  dawning 
powers  of  mind  have  been  enhanced  by  conversation,  which 
was  in  those  days  impossible.    In  the  present  era,  whilst 


328 


LADIES  AT  A  DLNNEK. 


the  hostess  should,  as  it  were,  see  everything  that  goes  on, 
or  does  not  go  on,  she  should  look  at  nothing,  say  nothing, 
and  reserve  all  strictures  on  failure  and  reproof,  if  needful, 
not  until  the  time  when  guests  shall  have  departed,  but 
until  the  next  day,  when  her  servants,  having  recovered  the 
fatigue  of  unusual  exertion,  will  be  more  willing  to  listen 
without  irritation  and  to  good  effect  than  on  the  previous 
evening. 

Drinking  much  wine  is  vulgar,  whether  the  sin  be  per- 
petrated by  a  duchess  or  a  farmer's  wife  :  all  manifest  self- 
indulgence  tends  to  vulgarity.  A  lady,  also,  should  not  be 
ravenous  at  table ;  neither  should  she  talk  of  eating  or 
of  the  dishes.  Whatever  conversation  takes  place  should 
be  easy ;  if  possible  sensible,  even  intellectual,  without 
pedantry.  It  may  be  personal,  if  with  prudence ;  for 
nothing  is  so  agreeable,  for  instance,  as  to  hear  public 
characters  discussed  at  table  ;  and  there  is  a  natural  love  of 
biography  in  the  human  mind  that  renders  anecdote,  with- 
out scandal,  always  agreeable.  The  conversation  at  dinner 
tables  is  usually  carried  on  in  an  under  tone,  and  addressed 
first  to  one  neighbouring  gentleman,  then  to  another.  In 
large  dinner-parties  general  conversation  is  impossible.  It 
is  only  at  that  delightful  form  of  social  intercourse,  a  small 
party,  that  one  may  enjoy  the  luxury  of  an  animated  and 
general  conversation. 

It  is  now  the  custom  for  ladies  to  retire  after  the  ice  and 
dessert  have  gone  round.  They  then  retire,  almost  in  the 
same  order  as  they  came,  to  the  drawing-room.  Here  the 
province  of  the  lady  of  the  house  is  to  maintain  easy  and 
cheerful  conversation,  and  to  make  it,  if  possible,  general. 
Her  labours  are  often  not  well  repaid,  but,  in  modern  times, 
are  not  of  long  duration. 

One  is  tempted,  however,  sometimes  to  envy  the  French 
customs.  At  a  Parisian  dinner-party,  each  gentleman  rises 
with  his  appointed  lady  neighbour,  gives  her  his  arm,  and  leads 
her  into  the  drawing-room,  where  coffee  comes  in  directly. 
Thus  the  evening  begins.    In  some  instances  the  gentle- 


AFTER  DINNER. 


329 


men,  and  ladies  also,  soon  take  their  leave  ;  in  others, 
remain  till  ten  or  eleven  o'clock.  But  the  dreary  interregnum 
which  still  occurs  in  this  country,  whilst  mine  host  is  cir- 
culating the  bottle  below — and'  ladies  are  discussing  their 
servants,  the  last  tooth  their  baby  cut,  or  the  raging  epi- 
demic, in  the  drawing-room  above — is  unknown  in  the 
salons  of  Paris. 

It  must  not  be  forgotten  that  all  the  comfort  and  part  of 
the  success  of  a  dinner-party  must  depend  on  the  previous 
arrangements ;  but  the  qualities  which  regulate  a  house, 
and  the  experience  which  is  brought  to  bear  upon  the  im- 
portant knowledge  of  how  to  give  a  dinner-party,  as  far  as 
the  material  part  is  concerned,  is  not  in  my  province. 

What  Lord  Chesterfield  says  is  here  to  the  purpose  : 
"  The  native  of  things,"  he  remarks,  "  is  always  and  every- 
where the  same,  but  the  modes  of  them  vary  more  or  less 
in  every  country  ;"  but  good-breeding,  he  adds,  consists  in 
an  easy  and  genteel  conformity  to  them,  or  rather,  "  the 
assuming  of  them  at  proper  times  and  in  proper  places." 

In  conclusion,  let  us  recal  the  advice  of  Napoleon  the 
First,  who  duly  respected  the  importance  of  dinner-parties 
as  a  social  institution  : 

"  Tenez  bonne  table,  et  soignez  les  femmes" 


2  T 


CHAPTER  XIII. 


BALLS. 

Balls  are  the  paradise  of  daughters,  the  purgatory  of  cha- 
perons, and  the  Pandemonium  of  Paterfamilias.  But  when 
he  has  Arabella's  ball-dresses  to  pay  for  ;  when  mamma  tells 
him  he  cannot  have  the  brougham  to-night,  because  of  Lady 
Fantile's  dance  ;  when  he  finds  the  house  suddenly  filled 
with  an  army  of  upholsterer's  men,  the  passage  barricaded 
with  cane-bottomed  benches,  the  drawing-room  pillaged  of 
its  carpet  and  furniture,  and  in  course  of  time  himself 
turned  bodily  out  of  his  own  library  with  no  more  apology 
than,  "  We  want  it  for  the  tea  to-night when,  if  he  goes 
to  bed,  there  is  that  blessed — oh  !  yes,  blessed — horn 
going  on  one  note  all  night  long,  and,  if  he  stops  up,  he  has 
no  room  to  take  refuge  in,  and  must  by  force  of  circum- 
stances appear  in  the  ball-room  among  people  of  whom  he 
does  not  know  one  quarter,  and  who  will  perhaps  kindly 
put  the  final  stroke  to  his  misery  by  mistaking  him  for  his 
own  butler  ;  when  Paterfam  undergoes  this  and  more,  he 
has  no  right  to  complain,  and  call  it  all  waste  of  time  and 
pure  folly.  Will  he  call  it  so  when  Arabella  announces 
that  she  is  engaged  to  the  young  and  wealthy  Sir  Thysse 
Thatte,  Bart.,  and  that  it  was  at  one  ball  he  met  her,  at 
another  he  flirted,  at  a  third  he  courted,  and  at  a  fourth 
offered  1  Will  he  call  it  so  when  he  learns  that  it  is  the 
balls  and  parties — innocent  amusements — which  have  kept 
his  son  Augustus  from  the  gaming-table,  and  Adolphus  from 
330 


THE  INVITATIONS. 


331 


curaqoa  ?  Perhaps  he  will  give  them  a  worse  epithet  when 
they  have  killed  Ada  and  worn  out  her  mother.  But  then 
whose  fault  was  that  1  Est  modus  in  rebus,  and  balls  in 
moderation  are  as  different  from  balls  in  excess  as  gun- 
practice  at  Woolwich  from  gun-practice  at  Delhi. 

There  is  not  half  enough  innocent  amusement  in  Eng- 
land, and,  therefore,  there  is'  far  too  much  vice.  I  should 
like  to  see  dancing  come  in  and  drinking  go  out  (as  it  would 
do)  among  our  lower  orders.  I  should  like  to  see  Clod 
clap  his  heels  together  on  the  village-green,  instead  of  clog- 
ging his  senses  with  bad  beer  at  the  village  public-house. 
They  do  so  in  France,  and  the  French  are  a  sober  race  com- 
pared with  the  English.  It  would  improve  the  health  of 
the  women  and  the  morals  of  the  men.  But  this  is  not 
my  present  affair.  The  advantage  of  the  ball  in  the  upper 
classes  is,  that  it  brings  young  people  together  for  a  sensible 
and  innocent  recreation,  and  takes  them  away  from  silly,  if 
not  bad  ones,  that  it  gives  them  exercise,  and  that  the 
general  effect  of  the  beauty,  elegance,  and  brilliance  of  a 
ball  is  to  elevate  rather  than  deprave  the  mind. 

Balls  can  only  be  given  often  by  the  rich,  but  ball-goers 
are  expected  to  turn  bail-givers  once  a  year  at  least,  and 
your  one  dance,  if  well  arranged,  will  cost  you  as  much  as 
your  dinners  for  the  whole  season.  It  is  not  often  then 
that  people  who  have  no  daughters,  and  are  too  old  to 
dance  themselves,  give  a  ball ;  and,  as  a  rule,  if  you  cannot 
afford  to  do  it  in  good  style,  it  is  better  to  leave  it  alone. 
In  London,  however,  no  one  will  blame  you  for  not 
giving  a  dance.  The  difficulty,  then,  is  not  to  find  balls 
enough  to  go  to,  but  time  enough  to  go  to  all. 

When  you  have  made  up  your  mind  to  give  a  ball,  and 
have  succeeded  in  fixing  a  clay  when  there  will  be  no  very 
grand  affair,  such  as  a  court-ball,  to  take  your  guests  away, 
the  first  thing  to  do  is  to  send  the  invitations. 

"  How  many  shall  we  ask,  Arabella  1 " 

"  Oh  !  at  least  two  hundred,  mamma.  I  do  so  like  a 
large  ball." 


332 


BALLS. 


"  Nonsense,  my  dear,  our  rooms  won't  hold  eighty  with 
comfort." 

"  Then  there  is  the  staircase." 

"  A  pleasant  prospect  for  late  comers." 

«  And  the  hall." 

"  Where  they  will  have  the  society  of  the  footmen — very 
agreeable." 

"  And  the  conservatory,"  urges  Arabella. 

"  No,  my  child,  that  is  reserved  for  flirtations.  In  short, 
if  we  have  more  than  a  hundred,  it  will  be  a  terrible- crush." 

"  But,  mamma,  a  crush  is  quite  the  fashion.  I'm  sure 
people  here  in  London  don't  go  to  balls  to  dance." 

"  What  for  then,  Miss  Wisdom  % " 

"  To  say  they  have  been  there ;  to  say  it  was  a  frightful 
crush  at  the  Joneses  ;  to  see  their  neighbours,  to  be  sure." 

"  And  to  be  melted  with  the  heat." 

"  Well,  we  can  ice  them,  mamma," 

However,  Arabella  is  partly  right.  In  London,  and 
during  the  season,  if  a  ball  is  given  as  a  formality,  and  the 
rooms  are  not  large,  it  is  better  to  give  up  the  hope  of  com- 
fortable dancing,  and  have  the  renommee  of  a  crush.  All 
the  gentlemen  who  failed  to  get  into  the  drawing-room,  and 
all  the  young  ladies  whose  dresses  were  hopelessly  wrecked, 
will  execrate,  but  still  remember  you,  and  it  is  something 
to  be  remembered  in  London,  whether  well  or  ill.  So  that 
when  you  have  called  your  guests  together  as  close  as  sheep 
in  a  fold,  allowed  them  to  take  an  hour  to  climb  the  stairs, 
and  half  an  hour  to  get  down  again,  given  them  a  supper 
from  Gunter's,  with  champagne  of  the  quality  which  in- 
duced impudent  Brummell  to  ask  for  "  some  more  of  that 
cider  ;  very  good  cider  that,"  you  have  done  the  notorious 
if  not  the  agreeable  thing,  and  Mrs.  Fitzj ones'  ball  will  be 
talked  of  and  remembered.  But  there  are  better  ways  of 
achieving  this  highly  desirable  notoriety  of  three  days' 
duration. 

Any  number  over  one  hundred  constitutes  a  "large  ball," 
below  that  number  it  is  simply  "  a  ball,"  and  under  fifty 


WANTED  I  FINE  YOUNG  MEN. 


333 


"  a  dance."  I  have  been  at  a  ball  of  ten  thousand, 
as  large  as  the  garrison  of  Paris  itself,  given  by  Madame 
Hausmann  at  the  Hotel  de  Ville  in  that  city,  and  yet, 
though  it  was  not  "  the  thing"  to  dance  there,  the  rooms 
looked  almost  empty,  so  many  and  so  large  were  they.  On 
the  other  hand,  I  have  been  at  the  Tuileries  when  there 
was  not  a  tenth  of  that  number,  and  found  the  dancing 
confined  to  one  little  spot  in  the  long  gallery,  about  as  large 
as  an  ordinary  London  drawing-room.  In  short,  the  num- 
bers must  be  proportioned  to  the  size  of  the  rooms,  with 
this  proviso,  that  the  more  you  have,  the  more  brilliant, 
the  fewer  you  have,  the  more  enjoyable  it  will  be. 

In  making  your  list,  you  must  not  take  in  all  your 
acquaintance,  but  only  all  those  who  are  moveable — the 
marionettes,  in  fact.  Middle-aged  people  think  it  a  com- 
pliment to  be  asked  to  a  ball  about  as  much  as  the  boa- 
constrictor  iu  the  Kegent's  Park  would.  Both  he  and  they 
like  to  be  fed,  and  after  five-and-thirty,  it  is  laborious  not 
only  to  dance,  but  even  to  look  at  dancing. 

"  What  shall  we  do  for  gentlemen,  mamma  1  I  have 
counted  up  thirty-eight  young  ladies  who  dance,  and  only 
twenty-five  partners  for  them." 

In  some  places  this  is  a  question  to  which  there  is  no 
answer  but  despair.  Young  men  are  at  a  premium  in  the 
ranks  of  Terpsichore  as  much  as  those  of  death,  and  they 
must  be  bribed  to  join  by  as  large  a  bounty,  in  the  shape 
of  a  good  supper.  "  I  shan't  go  to  the  Fitzjoneses,"  yawns 
De  Boots  of  the  Scotch  Muffineers,  "  the  champagne  was 
undrinkable  last  year,  and  the  pdte  de  foie  gras  tasted  like 
kitten."  How  De  Boots  of  the  Muffineers  comes  to  know 
the  taste  of  kitten  does  not  transpire. 

"  "Well,  my  love,"  says  mamma,  "  we  must  get  some 
intimate  friends  to  bring  a  young  man  or  two." 

Thereupon  there  is  a  casting  up  of  who  knows  whom,  and 
whom  it  would  be  best  to  commission  as  recruiting-sergeant. 
But  mamma,  Arabella,  and  their  intimate  ami  de  la  maison 
may  talk  and  write  and  labour,  they  will  never  make  up 


334 


BALLS. 


the  full  war  complement,  and  wall-flowers  will  flourish  still. 
This  system  of  "  bringing  a  friend"  is  a  very  bad  one,  and 
should  be  avoided.  It  reminds  me  of  a  story  of  worthy 
Mrs.  P — ,  who  had  Junot's  house  in  Paris,  and  in  its 
magnificent  rooms  gave  some  of  the  largest  and  most  bril- 
liant balls,  but,  owing  to  the  "  friend  "  system,  very  mixed. 
So  much  so  that  on  one  occasion  a  gentleman  went  up  to 
her  and  told  her  that  there  was  one  of  the  swell  mob  pre- 
sent. Mrs.  P —  was  deaf  and  amiable.  61  Dear  me,"  she 
replied,  "  is  there  really  1  I  hope  he  has  had  some  supper." 
But  the  disciple  of  Fagan  had  taken  care  of  himself ;  he 
had  not  only  had  supper,  but  when  he  had  done  using  his 
fork  and  spoon,  had,  in  the  neatest  manner,  put  them  away 
in  his  pocket,  so  that  the  next  time  I  went  to  Mrs.  P — 's, 
I  found  a  mouchard  sitting  near  the  door  behind  a  large 
book.  I  was  asked  my  nam£  and  address,  and  doubtless 
my  description  was  taken  down  too.  I  found  that  ladies 
as  well  as  gentlemen  were  treated  in  this  way. 

Your  best  plan,  therefore,  is  to  invite  only  one-third 
more  than  your  rooms  will  hold,  for  you  may  be  sure  that 
more  than  that  number  will  disappoint  you.  The  invita- 
tions should  be  sent  out  three  weeks  beforehand,  and  you 
need  not  expect  answers,  except  from  those  who  have  an 
excuse  for  not  accepting. 

The  requisites  for  an  agreeable  ball  are  good  ventilation, 
good  arrangement,  a  good  floor,  good  music,  a  good  supper, 
and  good  company.  The  arrangements  are  perhaps  more 
important  than  any  other  item,  and  in  this  country  they 
are  little  understood  or  greatly  neglected.  Yet  the  enjoy- 
ment of  the  dancers  is  materially  increased  by  the  brilliance 
and  elegance  of  the  details,  beauty  and  dress  are  enhanced 
by  good  lighting  or  proper  colours,  and  the  illusion  of  a 
fairy-like  scene  may  be  brought  up  by  judicious  manage- 
ment, and  the  concealment  of  everything  that  does  not 
strictly- accord  with  the  gaiety.  In  Paris,  where  balls,  in 
spite  of  the  absence  of  supper,  are  more  elegant  than  any- 
where else,  a  vast  deal  of  effect  and  freshness  is  secured  by 


THE  ARRANGEMENTS. 


335 


the  employment  of  shrubs,  plants,  and  flowers,  and  these 
may  be  freely  used  without  making  your  rooms  fantastic. 
Thus  that  odious  entrance  from  the  kitchen-stairs,  which 
yawns  upon  the  lobby  of  most  London  houses,  should  be 
concealed  by  a  thick  hedge  of  rhododendrons  in  pots  ;  the 
balustrades  of  the  staircase  and  gallery  should  be  woven 
with  evergreens,  and  all  the  fire-places  should  be  concealed 
by  plenty  of  plants  in  flower.  In  Paris,  again,  the  musi- 
cians are  unseen,  and  the  strains  of  the  piano,  horn,  flageo- 
let, and  violin  proceed  from  behind  a  flowery  bank,  artfully 
raised  in  one  corner  of  the  ball-room. 

It  is  a  rare  thing  in  London  to  find  more  than  four  or 
five  rooms  en  suite,  and  often  the  number  does  not  exceed 
two.  In  the  "flats"  of  the  large  French  houses,  you  have 
often  as  many  as  seven  or  eight  rooms  opening  one  into 
another,  and  so  much  is  the  advantage  of  space  recognised, 
that  a  bed-room  even  is  opened  at  the  end  of  the  suite,  if 
necessary.  I  have  danced  in  a  room  where  the  grand  bed 
was  standing  in  an  alcove,  scarcely  concealed  by  thin 
muslin  curtains,  and  disguised  with  a  coverlet  of  em- 
broidered white  satin.  But  in  England  any  sacrifice  should 
be  made  to  secure  a  refreshment-room,  if  not  a  supper-room, 
on  the  same  floor  as  the  ball-room,  nothing  being  more  try- 
ing to  ladies'  dresses  than  the  crush  down  and  up  the  stairs. 
A  cloak-room  down  stairs  for  the  ladies,  with  one  or  two 
maids  to  assist  them ;  a  tea  and  coffee  room,  with  at  least 
two  servants  ;  and  a  hat-room  for  gentlemen,  are  indispen- 
sable. If  the  ball  is  a  large  one,  numbered  tickets  should 
be  given  for  the  cloaks  and  hats. 

Up  stairs  the  colour  and  lighting  of  the  rooms  is  essen- 
tial. The  ball-room  especially  should  be  that  which  has 
the  lightest  paper ;  and  if  there  be  dark  curtains,  particu- 
larly red  ones,  they  must  be.  taken  down  and  replaced  by 
light  ones.  The  best  colour  for  a  ball-room  is  very  pale 
yellow.  The  light  should  come  from  the  walls,  heightened 
by  strong  reflectors.  Chandeliers  are  dangerous,  and  throw 
a  downward  shadow ;  at  any  rate,  wax  should  always  be 


336 


BALLS. 


replaced  by  globe  lamps.  After  the  Tuileries'  balls,  we 
often  returned  with  complete  epaulettes  of  wax-spots  on  our 
shoulders,  if  in  moments  of  carelessness  we  had  stood  under 
the  chandeliers.  Gas  is  heating,  and  throws  rather  a  sickly 
glare. 

How  can  we  dance  well  without  a  proper  ground  %  It 
was  all  very  well  for  nymphs  and  satyrs  to  "  trip  it  on  the 
light  fantastic  toe"  over  greensward  and  pebbly  paths,  but 
then  they  did  not  waltz  d,  deux  temps.  A  "carpet-dance" 
is  a  bad  dance,  and  the  cloth  drawn  over  the  Kidderminster 
is  seldom  tight  enough,  and  never  so  good  as  a  floor.  Eng- 
lish people  have  as  great  a  horror  of  taking  up  their  carpets 
as  Frenchmen  are  supposed  to  have  of  washing  their  necks. 
Probably  the  amount  of  dust  which  would  meet  their  gaze 
is  too  appalling  to  think  of.  Then,  again,  English  boards 
are  of  a  wood  which  it  is  not  easy  to  polish.  Commend 
me  to  the  old  oak- floors,  which,  with  a  little  bees' -wax, 
come  out  as  dark  as  ebony,  and  help  the  unskilled  foot  to 
glide.  However,  a  polished  floor,  whatever  the  wood,  is 
always  the  best  thing  to  dance  on,  and,  if  you  want  to  give 
a  ball,  and  not  only  a  crush,  you  should  hire  a  man  who, 
with  a  brush  under  one  foot,  and  a  slipper  on  the  other, 
will  dance  over  the  floor  for  four  or  five  hours,  till  you  can 
almost  see  your  face  in  it.  Above  all,  take  care  that  there 
is  not  bees'-wax  enough  to  blacken  the  ladies'  shoes.  It  is 
the  amount  of  rubbing  which  must  give  it  the  polish. 

Four  musicians  are  enough  for  a  private  ball.  If  the 
room  is  not  large,  do  away  with  the  horn  ;  the  flageolet  is 
less  noisy,  and  marks  the  time  quite  as  well.  A  piano  and 
violin  form  the  mainstay  of  the  band ;  but  if  the  room  be 
large,  a  larger  band  may  be  introduced  to  great  advantage. 
The  dances  should  be  arranged  beforehand,  and,  for  large 
balls,  you  should  have  printed  a  number  of  double  cards, 
containing  on  the  one  side  a  list  of  the  dances ;  on  the 
other,  blank  spaces  to  be  filled  up  by  the  names  of  partners. 
A  small  pencil  should  be  attached  to  each  card,  which  should 
be  given  to  each  guest  in  the  cloak-room.   Every  ball  opens 


REFRESHMENTS. 


337 


with  a  quadrille,  followed  by  a  waltz.  The  number  of  the 
dances  varies  generally  from  eighteen  to  twenty-four,  supper 
making  a  break  after  the  fourteenth  dance.  Let  us  suppose 
you  have  twenty-one  dances  ;  then  seven  of  these  should  be 
quadrilles,  three  of  which  may  be  lancers.  There  should 
next  be  seven  waltzes,  four  galops,  a  polka,  a  polka-mazurka, 
and  some  other  dance. 

We  come  at  last  to  what  some  people  of  bad  taste  think 
the  most  important  part, — the  eating  and  drinking.  As  a 
first  rule,  it  may  be  laid  down  that  nothing  should  be 
handed  in  a  ball.  A  refreshment-room  is,  therefore,  indis- 
pensable. The  ladies  are  to  be  first  considered  in  this 
matter.  The  refreshments  may  be  simple,  comprising  tea, 
lemonade,  that  detestable  concoction  called  negus,  iced 
sherbet,  ices,  wafers,  cakes,  and  bonbons.  In  French  parties 
they  give  you,  towards  the  end  of  the  evening,  hot  chocolate, 
and  this  is  coming  into  fashion  in  England,  and  is  certainly 
very  refreshing.  In  the  south  of  Germany  a  lady  asks  you 
to  fetch  her  a  glass  of  beer ;  in  Munich,  this  is  customary 
even  in  the  court  circles.  There  is  a  terrible  prejudice 
against  beer  in  England,  but  it  is  perhaps  the  best  thing  to 
drink  after  dancing.  Fancy  our  pretty  Misses  quaffing  their 
pint  of  Bass  !  Yet  why  not  1  In  Germany  and  France,  and 
now,  too,  in  England,  the  favourite  bonbon  is  a  chestnut  or 
slip  of  orange  in  a  coat  of  candied  sugar.  I  remember  well 
at  Munich  a  trick  that  was  played  on  an  old  geheim-rath, 
who  was  known  to  have  a  violent  passion  for  oranges  glacees, 
and  suspected  of  carrying  them  away  in  his  pockets  in  large 
quantities.  A  number  of  young  officers  managed  to  stuff 
his  coat-pockets  with  these  bonbons  without  his  discovering 
it,  and  then  one  of  them,  assuming  great  interest  in  the  old 
gentleman,  induced  him  to  sit  down  for  a  little  chat.  When 
he  got  up  again  there  was  a  stream  of  orange-juice  issuing 
from  each  coat-tail,  and  the  old  man  pottered  about  quite 
unconscious  of  the  amusement  he  excited. 

The  supper,  of  course,  has  a  separate  room,  which  must 
be  well  lit.  Of  its  contents,  as  I  am  not  a  confectioner,  I 
2  u 


338 


BALLS. 


can  say  nothing.  Two  things  I  can  say :  Ice  everything 
(in  a  London  season)  that  can  conveniently  be  iced,  and  let 
there  be  nothing  that  requires  carving.  The  fowls  and 
birds  should,  therefore,  all  be  cut  up.  The  supper  hour  in 
London  is  generally  midnight,  after  which  it  goes  on  till 
the  end  of  the  ball.  In  England,  it  is  usually  served  with 
much  expense  and  display  on  a  table,  round  which  all  the 
dancers  stand  ;  but  in  France,  even  at  the  Tuileries,  it  is 
arranged  on  long  buffets,  as  in  our  public  balls,  the  servants 
standing  behind,  and  thus  saving  a  vast  deal  of  pushing 
about,  and  much  trouble  to  the  gentlemen.  Another  im- 
portation from  France,  is  the  custom  of  giving  hot  soup  at 
supper,  and  a  very  good  one  it  is.  In  fact,  hot  things  are 
still  to  be  desired  at  supper,  and  always  will  be  acceptable. 
At  a  ball  no  one  sits  down  to  supper  •  at  a  small  dance  the 
ladies  sit,  and  the  gentlemen  stand  behind  them.  A  lady 
should  never  drink  more  than  one  glass  of  champagne,  nor  a 
man  more  than  two.  There  is  a  modern  custom  which  saves 
the  pockets  of  ball-givers,  and  is  most  grateful  to  dancers,  that 
of  giving  the  men  bottled  beer.  No  man  of  sense  will  drink 
bad  gooseberry  when  he  can  get  good  Bass.  The  latter 
refreshes  more,  and  intoxicates  less ;  but  until  we  become 
sensible  on  this  point,  champagne  will  remain  as  indis- 
pensable an  element  of  the  ball-supper  as  trifle,  tipsy-cake, 
and  mayonnaise  ;  which  last,  if  made  with  fish,  is  the  best 
dish  you  can  eat  at  this  meal. 

I  now  pass  to  the  etiquettes  of  the  ball-room. 

In  the  days  when  bows  were  made  down  to  an  angle  of 
45°,  and  it  took  two  minutes  to  sink  and  two  to  rise  in  a 
curtsey,  the  givers  of  balls  must  have  been  punished  for 
their  entertainment  by  a  stiffness  the  next  day  quite  as 
trying  as  that  of  the  young  gentleman  who  has  followed 
the  hounds  for  the  first  time  in  his  life.  As  for  the  worthy 
PreTet  and  Madame  la  PreTecte  de  la  Seine,  they  would 
have  been  carried  away  lifeless  with  fatigue  before  the  half 
of  the  thousands  had  had  their  bow  in  the  receiving-room 
of  the  Hotel  de  Yille  at  Paris.    In  the  present  day  the 


EECEIVING  THE  GUESTS. 


339 


muscles  of  the  mouth  are  brought  more  into  requisition, 
and  for  the  time  being  the  worst  of  Xantippes  must  turn 
into  an  angel  of  amiability  if  she  gives  a  balL  The  lady  of 
the  house  must,  in  short,  linger  till  supper-time  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  door  by  which  her  guests  enter  the 
rooms  ;  she  must  have  a  pleasant  smile  for  everybody  ;  and, 
if  possible,  she  should  know  everybody's  name,  and  how 
many  they  are  in  family.  To  a  large  ball  you  ask  a  great 
number  of  people  with  whom  you  have  only  a  slight  ac- 
quaintance, and  of  course  a  number  of  gentlemen  arrive  who 
may  be  your  husband's  or  son's  friends,  or  recruits  levied 
by  an  ami  de  la  maison.  To  these  a  bow  rather  more  in- 
clined than  to  your  own  friends,  and  a  particularly  amiable 
smile,  is  necessary  •  but  in  order  to  put  them  quite  at  their 
case,  you  should  be  able  to  come  forward  and  say  some  little 
polite  phrase  or  other.  "  Are  we  not  to  have  the  pleasure 
of  seeing  more  of  your  party  ?"  perhaps  you  ask,  when  a 
mamma  and  one  daughter  are  announced.  But  if  there  are 
no  more  of  them  to  come,  how  awkward  for  you  and  them  ! 
So  too  it  is  wise  to  avoid  asking  after  relations,  unless  you 
are  quite  sure  about  their  existence.  What  can  the  bereaved 
widower  say  or  look,  when  in  the  excess  of  your  amiability 
you  inquire  "  How  is  Mrs.  — ?"  The  master  of  the  house, 
too,  if  he  is  not  gone  out  of  town  "  on  business,"  for  that 
night,  should  be  in  the  neighbourhood  of  his  spouse,  in 
order  to  introduce  to  her  any  of  his  own  recruits/  The  sons 
will  hang  about  the  same  quarter  for  the  same  purpose,  but 
the  daughters  will  be  otherwise  occupied.  It  is  their  duty 
to  see  that  the  dances  are  formed,  and  a  well-bred  young 
lady  does  not  dance  till  she  has  found  partners  for  all  the 
young  ladies,  or  as  many  of  them  as  can  be  supplied  from 
the  ranks  of  the  recruits  present.  Now  and  then  you  will 
see  her  dart  anxiously  out  upon  the  landing,  to  press  into 
the  service  those  languid  loungers  who  are  sure  to  be 
hanging  about  the  doors.  She  has  the  right  to  ask  a 
gentleman  to  dance  without  having  a  previous  acquaintance, 
but  she  must  be  careful  how  she  uses  it.    I  have  known  a 


340 


BALLS. 


case  where  a  distinguished  young  man  having  declined  her 
invitation  to  dance,  but  being  pressed  by  "  I  can't  make  up 
the  Lancers  without  you,"  somewhat  reluctantly  accepted, 
performed  his  part  so  well,  that  his  partner  was  quite  eprise 
with  him,  and  even  ventured  on  a  little  flirtation.  You  can 
imagine  her  dismay,  when  later  in  the  evening  she  saw  her 
charming  acquaintance  carrying  up  a  pile  of  plates  from  the 
kitchen  to  the  supper-room.  For  the  first  time  in  her  life 
she  had  danced  with  an  occasional  waiter.  The  genus  wall- 
flower is  one  that  grows  well  in  every  ball-room,  but  a  young 
lady,  however  plain,  however  stupid,  can,  if  she  dances  well, 
always  have  some  partners.  The  great  thing  is  to  secure  the 
first,  who,  on  retiring,  will  say  to  some  of  his  friends,  "I'll 
tell  you  who  dances  well ;  that  girl  in  pink,  Miss  A — ,  I 
advise  you  to  get  introduced  to  her."  The  right  of  intro- 
ducing rests  mainly  with  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  of  the 
house,  but  a  chaperon  may  present  a  gentleman  to  her 
charge  ;  or  if  you,  being  a  man,  are  intimate  with  a  young 
lady,  you  may  ask  her  permission  to  introduce  some  friend. 
It  is  in  very  bad  taste  to  refuse  this  permission,  but  if  a 
lady  has  an  insuperable  objection  to  the  person  in  question, 
she  may  decline  to  dance  altogether,  or  refer  the  applicant 
to  her  chaperon.  In  France,  as  I  have  said,  no  introduction 
is  needed,  though  English  young  ladies  generally  expect  it 
even  at  French  parties.  At  any  rate,  if  a  gentleman  comes 
up  to  her  and  asks  her  to  dance,  she  must  not  reply,  as  a 
celebrated  English  beauty  once  did  at  the  Tuileries,  "  I 
have  not  the  pleasure  of  your  acquaintance,"  by  which  she 
acquired  the  reputation  of  very  bad  breeding. 

A  young  lady  must  be  very  careful  how  she  refuses  to 
dance  with  a  gentleman.  Next  to  refusing  an  offer  of 
marriage,  few  things  are  so  likely  to  draw  upon  her  the 
indignation  of  the  rejected  applicant,  for  unless  a  good 
reason  is  given,  he  is  apt  to  take  it  as  evidence  of  a  personal 
dislike.  There  is  a  great  deal  of  polite  (?)  falsehood  used 
on  these  occasions.  "  I  am  sorry  that  I  am  engaged,"  "  I 
have  a  slight  headache,  and  do  not  intend  to  dance ;"  but  a 


BALL-ROOM  ETIQUETTE. 


341 


lady  should  never  be  guilty  even  of  a  conventional  lie,  and 
if  she  replies  very  politely,  asking  to  be  excused,  as  she  does 
not  wish  to  dance  ("  with  you,"  being  probably  her  mental 
reservation),  a  man  ought  t  >  be  satisfied.  At  all  event-  ,  he 
should  never  press  her  to  dance  after  one  refusal.  The  set 
forms  which  Turveydrop  would  give  for  the  invitation  are 
too  much  of  the  deportment  school  to  be  used  in  practice. 
If  you  know  a  young  lady  slightly,  it  is  sufficient  to  say  to 
her,  "  May  I  have  the  pleasure  of  dancing  this  waltz,  &c. 
with  you  ?"  or  if  intimately,  "  Will  you  dance,  Miss  A — V 
The  young  lady  who  has  refused  one  gentleman  has  no  right 
to  accept  another  for  that  dance  ■  and  young  ladies  who  do  not 
wish  to  be  annoyed  must  take  care  not  to  accept  two  gentle- 
men for  the  same  dance.  In  Germany  such  innocent  blunders 
often  cause  fatal  results.  Two  partners  arrive  at  the  same 
moment  to  claim  the  fair  one's  hand  \  she  vows  she  has  not 
made  a  mistake  \  "  was  sure  she  was  engaged  to  Herr  A — , 
and  not  to  Herr  B —  Herr  B —  is  equally  certain  that 
she  was  engaged  to  him.  The  awkwardness  is,  that  if  he  at 
once  gives  her  up,  he  appears  to  be  indifferent  about  it ; 
while,  if  he  presses  his  suit,  he  must  quarrel  with  Herr 
A — -,  unless  the  damsel  is  clever  enough  to  satisfy  both  of 
them  :  and  particularly  if  there  is  an  especial  interest  in 
Herr  B — ,  he  yields  at  last,  but  when  the  dance  is  over, 
sends  a  friend  to  Herr  A — .  Absurd  as  all  this  is,  it  is 
common,  and  I  have  often  seen  one  Herr  or  the  other  walk- 
ing about  with  a  huge  gash  on  his  cheek,  or  his  arm  in  a 
sling,  a  few  days  after  a  ball. 

Friendship,  it  appears,  can  be  let  ouirbn  hire.  The  lady 
who  was  so  very  amiable  to  you  last  night,  has  a  right  to 
ignore  your  existence  to-day.  In  fact,  a  ball-room  acquaint- 
ance rarely  goes  any  farther,  until  you  have  met  at  more 
balls  than  one.  In  the  same  way  a  man  cannot,  after  being 
introduced  to  a  young  lady  to  dance  with,  ask  her  to  do  so 
more  than  twice  in  the  same  evening.  On  the  Continent, 
however  intimate,  he  must  never  dance  twice  with  the  same 
lady,  that  is,  if  she  be  unmarried.  Mamma  would  interfere, 


342 


BALLS. 


and  ask  his  intentions  if  he  did  so.  In  England,  a  man  of 
sense  will  select  at  most  one  or  two  partners,  and  dance  with 
them  alternately  the  whole  evening.  But  then  he  must 
expect  comment  thereupon,  and  a  young  lady  who  does  not 
wish  to  have  her  name  coupled  with  his,  will  not  allow  him 
to  single  her  out  in  this  manner.  However,  a  man  may 
dance  four  or  even  five  times  with  the  same  partner  without 
this  risk.  On  the  other  hand,  a  really  well-bred  man  will 
wish  to  be  useful,  and  there  are  certain  people  whom  it  is  im- 
perative on  him  to  ask  to  dance — the  daughters  of  the  house, 
for  instance,  and  any  young  ladies  whom  he  may  know 
intimately  ;  but  most  of  all  the  well-bred  and  amiable  man 
will  sacrifice  himself  to  those  plain,  ill-dressed,  dull-looking 
beings  who  cling  to  the  wall,  unsought  and  despairing. 
After  all,  he  will  not  regret  his  good-nature.  The  spirits 
reviving  at  the  unexpected  invitation,  the  wall-flower  will 
pour  out  her  best  conversation,  will  dance  her  best,  and 
will  show  him  her  gratitude  in  some  way  or  other.  So, 
too,  an  amiable  girl  will  do  her  best  to  find  partners  for 
her  wall-flower  friends,  even  at  the  risk  of  sitting  out 
herself. 

The  formal  bow  at  the  end  of  a  quadrille  has  gradually 
dwindled  away.  At  the  end  of  every  dance  you  offer  your 
right  arm  to  your  partner  (if  by  mistake  you  offer  the  left, 
you  may  turn  the  blunder  into  a  pretty  compliment,  by 
reminding  her  that  it  is  le  hras  du  coeur,  nearest  the  heart, 
which  if  not  anatomically  true,  is  at  least  no  worse  than 
talking  of  a  sunset  and  sunrise),  and  walk  half  round  the 
room  with  her.  You  then  ask  her  if  she  will  take  any  refresh- 
ment, and,  if  she  accepts,  you  convey  your  precious  allotment 
of  tarlatane  to  the  refreshment-room  to  be  invigorated  by  an 
ice  or  negus,  or  what  you  will.  It  is  judicious  not  to 
linger  too  long  in  this  room,  if  you  are  engaged  to  some  one 
else  for  the  next  dance.  You  will  have  the  pleasure  of 
hearing  the  music  begin  in  the  distant  ball-room,  and  of 
reflecting  that  an  expectant  fair  is  sighing  for  you  like 
Mariana — - 


BALL-ROOM  MANNERS. 


343 


"  He  cometh  not,"  she  said. 
She  said,  "  I  am  a-weary  a-weary, 
I  would  I  were  in  bed ;" 

which  is  not  an  unfrequent  wish  in  some  ball-rooms.  A  well- 
bred  girl,  too,  will  remember  this,  and  always  offer  to  return 
to  the  ball-room,  however  interesting  the  conversation. 

If  you  are  prudent  you  will  not  dance  every  dance,  nor, 
in  fact,  much  more  than  half  the  number  on  the  list ;  you 
will  then  escape  that  hateful  redness  of  face  at  the  time, 
and  that  wearing  fatigue  the  next  day  which  are  among 
the  worst  features  of  a  ball.  Again,  a  gentleman  must 
remember  that  a  ball  is  essentially  a  lady's  party,  and  in 
their  presence  he  should  be  gentle  and  delicate  almost  to  a 
fault,  never  pushing  his  way,  apologizing  if  he  tread  on 
a  dress,  still  more  so  if  he  tears  it,  begging  pardon  for  any 
accidental  annoyance  he  may  occasion,  and  addressing  every- 
body with  a  smile.  But  quite  unpardonable  are  those  men 
whom  one  sometimes  meets,  who,  standing  in  a  door-way, 
talk  and  laugh  as  they  would  in  a  barrack  or  college-rooms, 
always  coarsely,  often  indelicately.  What  must  the  state 
of  their  minds  be  if  the  sight  of  beauty,  modesty,  and  virtue 
does  not  awe  them  into  silence.  A  man,  too,  who  strolls 
down  the  room  with  his  head  in  the  air,  looking  as  if  there 
were  not  a  creature  there  worth  dancing  with,  is  an  ill-bred 
man,  so  is  he  who  looks  bored ;  and  worse  than  all  is  he 
who  takes  too  much  champagne. 

If  you  are  dancing  with  a  young  lady  when  the  supper- 
room  is  opened,  you  must  ask  her  if  she  would  like  to  go 
to  supper,  and  if  she  says  "  yes,1'  which,  in  999  cases  out  of 
1000,  she  certainly  will  do,  you  must  take  her  thither.  If 
you  are  not  dancing  the  lady  of  the  house  will  probably  recruit 
you  to  take  in  some  chaperon.  However  little  you  may 
relish  this,  you  must  not  show  your  disgust.  In  fact,  no 
man  ought  to  be  disgusted  at  being  able  to  do  anything  for 
a  lady  ;  it  should  be  his  highest  privilege,  but  it  is  not — 
in  these  modern  unchivalrous  days — perhaps  never  was  so. 
Having  placed  your  partner  then  at  the  supper-table,  if 


Mi 


BALLS. 


there  is  room  there,  but  if  not  at  a  side-table,  or  even  at  none, 
you  must  be  as  active  as  Puck  in  attending  to  her  wants, 
and  as  women  take  as  long  to  settle  their  fancies  in  edibles 
as  in  love-matters,  you  had  better  at  once  get  her  some- 
thing substantial,  chicken,  pate  de  foie  gras,  mayonnaise,  or 
what  you  will.  Afterwards  come  jelly  and  trifle  in  due 
course. 

A  young  lady  often  goes  down  half-a-dozen  times  to  the 
supper-room — it  is  to  be  hoped  not  for  the  purpose  of  eat- 
ing— but  she  should  not  do  so  with  the  same  partner 
more  than  once.  While  the  lady  is  supping  you  must 
stand  by  and  talk  to  her,  attending  to  every  want,  and  the 
most  you  may  take  yourself  is  a  glass  of  champagne  when 
you  help  her.  You  then  lead  her  up  stairs  again,  and  if 
you  are  not  wanted  there  any  more,  you  may  steal  down 
and  do  a  little  quiet  refreshment  on  your  own  account. 
As  long,  however,  as  there  are  many  ladies  still  at  the 
table,  you  have  no  right  to  begin.  Nothing  marks  a  man 
here  so  much  as  gorging  at  supper.  Balls  are  meant  for 
dancing,  not  eating,  and  unfortunately  too  many  young 
men  forget  this  in  the  present  day.  Lastly,  be  careful 
what  you  say  and  how  you  dance  after  supper,  even  more 
so  than  before  it,  for  if  you  in  the  slightest  way  displease  a 
young  lady,  she  may  fancy  that  you  have  been  too  partial 
to  strong  fluids,  and  ladies  never  forgive  that.  It  would 
be  hard  on  the  lady  of  the  house  if  everybody  leaving  a 
large  ball  thought  it  necessary  to  wish  her  good-night. 
In  quitting  a  small  dance,  however,  a  parting  bow  is  ex- 
pected. It  is  then  that  the  pretty  daughter  of  the  house 
gives  you  that  sweet  smile  of  which  you  dream  afterwards 
in  a  gooseberry  nightmare  of  "  tum-tum-tiddy-tum,"  and 
waltzes  h  deux  temps,  and  masses  of  tarlatane  and  bright 
eyes,  flushed  cheeks  and  dewy  glances.  See  them  to-mor- 
row, my  dear  fellow,  it  will  cure  you. 

I  think  flirtation  comes  under  the  head  of  morals  more 
than  of  mariners  ;  still  I  may  be  allowed  to  say  that  ball- 
room flirtation  being  more  open  is  less  dangerous  than  any 


PUBLIC  BALLS. 


other.  But  a  young  lady  of  taste  will  be  careful  not  to 
flaunt  and  publish  her  flirtation,  as  if  to  say,  "  See,  I  have 
an  admirer  I"  In  the  same  way  a  prudent  man  will  never 
presume  on  a  girl's  liveliness  or  banter.  No  man  of  taste 
ever  made  an  offer  after  supper,  and  certainly  nine-tenths 
of  those  who  have  done  so  have  regretted  it  at  breakfast 
the  next  morning. 

Public  balls  are  not  much  frequented  by  people  of  good 
society,  except  in  watering-places  and  country  towns.  Even 
there  a  young  lady  should  not  be  seen  at  more  than  two 
or  three  in  the  year.  County-balls,  race-balls,  and  hunt-balls, 
are  generally  better  than  common  subscription-balls.  Charity- 
balls  are  an  abominable  anomaly.  At  public  balls  there 
are  generally  either  three  or  four  stewards  on  duty,  or  a 
professional  master  of  ceremonies.  These  gentlemen  having 
made  all  the  arrangements,  order  the  dances,  and  have 
power  to  change  them  if  desirable.  They  also  undertake 
to  present  young  men  to  ladies,  but  it  must  be  understood 
that  such  an  introduction  is  only  available  for  one  dance.  It 
is  better  taste  to  ask  the  steward  to  introduce  you  simply 
to  a  partner,  than  to  point  out  any  lady  in  particular.  He 
will  probably  then  ask  you  if  you  have  a  choice,  and  if  not, 
you  may' be  certain  he  will  take  you  to  an  established  wall- 
flower. Public  balls  are  scarcely  enjoyable  unless  you  have 
your  own  party. 

As  the  great  charm  of  a  ball  is  its  perfect  accord  and 
harmony,  all  altercations,  loud  talking,  &c,  are  doubly  ill- 
mannered  in  a  ball-room.  Very  little  suffices  to  disturb  the 
peace  of  the  whole  company. 


2x 


CHAPTER  XIV. 


MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 


When  all  the  flower  of  Greece  turned  out  at  the  cry  of  the 
Argive  King,  manned  their  heavy  triremes  and  sailed  away 
to  Tenedos,  do  you  imagine  that  one-fiftieth  part  of  their 
number  cared  as  much  as  a  shield-strap  for  that  lady  of  the 
white  arms  but  black  reputation,  whom  the  handsomest 
man  of  his  day  had  persuaded  to  "fly  beyond  her  fate's 
control do  you  believe  that  it  was  for  fair  false  Helen 
that  they  resolved  to  sack  Troy  1  Not  a  bit  of  it,  it  was 
only  an  excuse  for  "  making  a  party."  So,  too,  it  was 
only  for  the  party  and  the  fun  that  all  those  helmeted, 
scarved,  iron-cased  knights,  most  preux  and  gallant,  quitted 
the  bowers  of  their  lady-loves  (which,  to  say  truth,  must 
have  been  rather  dull  in  days  when  there  were  no  cheap 
novels,  no  pianos,  no  crochet,  no  chess,  no  backgammon, 
and  no  newspapers  to  talk  about),  and  trotted  off  to  Pales- 
tine, determined  to  return  with  the  scalp  of  a  Saladin. 
Why,  if  you  were  to  examine  the  consciences  of  nine-tenths 
of  those  same  chivalrous  gentlemen,  you  would  find  the 
motive  probably  made  up  of  the  following  ingredients  in  the 
following  proportions  : — 


Keligion, 
Hatred  of  Turks, 


1 
2 

3 
4 
5 


The  wish  of  my  lady-love, 
Because  it's  the  fashion, 
Love  of  bloodshed, 


For  the  sake  of  the  party, 


15 


346 


MAKING  A  PARTY. 


347 


In  other  ■words,  all  the  other  motives  together  would  not 
outbalance  that  prime  consideration. 

People  will  make  a  party  for  anything.  "  Make  a  party 
to  see  the  sun  set "  make  a  party  to  take  a  walk  make 
a  party  to  hear  the  nightingale  "  make  a  party  to  go  to 
church "  make  a  party  to  go  nowhere  near  church,  but 
to  Hampstead  Heath  instead "  make  a  party  to  ride  a 
donkey  ;"  "  make  a  party  to  play  at  a  new  game  "  make 
a  party  to  do  nothing  at  all."  There  are  people — very  good 
people  they  think  themselves  too — who  cannot  even  read 
their  bibles  without  a  party,  and  the  very  people  who  rail 
at  balls  and  parties,  and  amusement  of  any  land,  will  most 
^^ostentatiously  make  a  party  to  see  them  give  away  a 
hundred  cups  of  tea  or  fifty  pinafores,  which  act  then  goes 
in  the  world  by  the  name  of  ££  charity/'  I  don't  think  the 
Pharisees  were  quite  so  bad  as  this,  because  if  they  did  do 
their  good  deeds  in  public,  they  did  not  make  a  party  to 
come  and  see  them,  unless  indeed  the  sounding  of  a  trum- 
pet was  the  Hebrew  way  of  sending  out  invitations. 

However,  this  is  not  my  present  business.  The  system  of 
gathering  a  little  assembly  to  join  in  every  pleasure,  as  long 
as  it  is  free  from  ostentation  and  cant,  only  shows  what  so- 
ciable and  sympathetic  beings  we  are.  For  the  real  objects 
of  these  parties  are  not,  believe  me,  the  sunset,  the  walk, 
the  nightingale's  service,  the  donkey,  the  new  game,  and  the 
dispensing  of  pinafores,  but  the  entertainment  of  one  an- 
other's society,  so  that  all  parties  having  the  same  ultimate 
aim  may  be  governed  by  the  same  laws.  I  have  made  an 
exception  for  dinner  and  dances,  because  with  many  people 
the  food  and  the  waltz  are  the  sole  object.  But  in  most 
other  cases  the  excuse  given  for  the  gathering  is  precisely 
the  kind  of  thing  which  could  be  enjoyed  much  more  in 
solitude,  or,  at  most,  with  one  sympathetic  companion. 
Take  a  pic-nic  as  an  instance.  We  go  miles,  at  a  consider- 
able outlay  may  be,  only  to  enjoy  some  beautiful  view,  or  to 
wander  in  some  ancient  ruin.  Does  the  small  gossip  of  the 
pic-nic  aid  us  in  the  enjoyment  of  the  former,  or  its  noisy 


348  MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 

prattle  hallow  rather  than  disturb  the  memories  of  the  past 
that  haunt  the  latter  1 

So  then  the  main  difference  in  all  kinds  of  parties  lies 
in  the  selection  of  the  guests,  the  dress  they  wear,  and  the 
peculiar  tone  of  the  conversation.  Another  great  distinction 
lies,  too,  between  town  and  country  parties.  Let  us  then 
divide  parties  under  these  two  general  heads. 

Town-parties  consist  in  conversaziones,  private  concerts, 
private  theatricals,  tea-parties,  and  matinees. 

The  first,  which  also  go  by  the  names  of  Eeceptions  and 
"  At  Homes,"  have  for  principal  object  conversation  only,  so 
that  in  the  selection  of  guests  youth  and  beauty  are  less 
considered  than  talent,  distinction,  and  fashion.  An  Indian 
prince,  a  great  nobleman,  a  distinguished  foreigner,  or  a 
celebrated  statesman,  are  considered  valuable  attractions, 
but  it  must  be  a  consolation  to  the  lion-huntress  to  feel 
that  if  the  presence  of  these  curiosities  increases  the  reputa- 
tion of  her  assemblies,  they  do  by  no  means  add  to,  but 
rather  diminish  the  general  ease  of  the  conversation.  On 
the  other  hand,  to  assemble  as  many  persons  distinguished 
for  talents  or  achievements  as  possible,  must  necessarily 
give  them  brilliance ;  and,  as  I  have  said,  the  great  behave 
better  in  the  presence  of  rivals  and  compeers  than  where 
they  are  chief  planets.  The  invitations  should  be  sent  out 
from  a  week  to  a  fortnight  beforehand.  Tea  must  be 
served  in  a  separate  room,  to  which  the  guests  are  first  con- 
ducted, and  ices  handed  at  short  intervals  throughout  the 
evening.  Sometimes  in  smaller  receptions  a  supper  is 
served,  but  this  is  by  no  means  common,  as  from  these 
meetings  the  ladies  generally  repair  to  a  ball.  The  hour 
for  meeting  is  between  nine  and  ten,  and  the  party  breaks 
up  before  one  in  the  morning.  The  lady  and  gentleman  of 
the  house  both  receive  the  guests,  somewhere  near  the  door 
of  the  principal  room ;  or  if  the  reception  is  a  small  one,  the 
lady  joins  in  the  conversation,  and  comes  forward  when  a 
guest  is  announced.  Two  or  three  rooms  must  be  thrown 
open,  curiosities,  good  engravings,  handsome  books,  rare  mU 


CONVERSAZIONI. 


349 


matures,  old  china,  photographs,  stereoscopes,  and  so  forth, 
laid  out  gracefully  on  the  tables,  and  a  liberal  supply  of 
ottomans,  dos-a-dos,  and  sofas  placed  about  in  convenient 
positions,  not,  however,  so  as  to  impede  a  general  movement 
about  the  rooms.  In  the  larger  receptions  gentlemen  should 
not  sit  down,  and,  above  all,  not  linger  close  to  the  door  but 
come  forward  and  talk  sense — not  ball-room  chit-chat — -to 
such  people  as  they  happen  to  know.  Introductions  are  not 
here  the  order  of  the  day,  as  they  must  be  in  balls,  but  the 
lady  of  the  house  will  take  care  to  introduce  gentlemen  to 
such  ladies  as  seem  to  have  none  to  talk  to.  On  the  other 
hand,  strangers  who  enter  your  set  for  the  first  time  must 
receive  the  greatest  attention — the  greater  the  stranger  the 
greater  the  guest — and  must  be  introduced  to  the  principal 
people.  The  lady  must  take  care  to  create  circulation,  and 
the  guests  themselves  should  not  be  pinioned  to  one  spot  or 
one  chair.  The  place  occupied  by  music  in  these  parties  is 
a  very  ridiculous  one,  because  it  is  generally  got  up  only  to 
make  a  noise,  and  prevent  people  being  frightened,  like 
Robinson  Crusoe,  at  the  sound  of  their  own  voices.  Some- 
times a  professional  musician  or  two  is  introduced  ;  some- 
times young  ladies  are  called  upon  to  murder  Italian  or 
mouth  out  German  ;  sometimes — not  very  often — there  is 
some  charming  amateur  singing,  but  unless  the  professionals 
are  very  great  favourites,  or  the  young  ladies  have  very 
fine  voices,  or  the  guests — rarer  still — can  appreciate  good 
melodious  speaking  music,  the  touch  of  the  first  notes  is 
the  signal  for  every  one  to  find  their  ideas  and  their  tongues. 
So  far  it  must  be  confessed  that  the  music  inspires  them, 
and  the  people  who  were  stupidest  before,  suddenly  shine 
out  quite  brilliantly  ;  but  it  is  curious  that  while  the  first 
two  chords  can  effect  ihis,  the  remainder,  good  or  bad,  is 
drowned  and  talked  down  in  the  most  ungrateful  manner. 
Nothing  can  be  worse  bred  than  this ;  and,  therefore,  in 
really  good  society,  you  will  find  that  people  know  when  to 
use  their  tongues  and  when  their  ears.  As  to  the  etiquette 
of  music,  it  is  the  sole  privilege  of  the  lady  of  the  house  to 


350  MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 

ask  a  guest  to  sing  or  play  ;  and  when  lie  or  she  can  do  so 
they  will,  if  well  bred,  at  once  consent,  without  any  palaver. 
A  young  lady  must  be  led — poor  victim — to  the  piano  by 
some  gentleman  near  at  hand,  who  then  offers  to  fetch  her 
music  for  her  •  and  there  is  one  hint  which  I  will  venture 
to  give  to  young  ladies  when  they  have  got  their  music, 
and  have  quickly  chosen  their  song  or  piece :  never  wait  till 
the  company  is  silent,  do  not  go  on  playing  introductory 
bars,  and  looking  round  as  if  you  expected  them  to  stop 
talking,  for  on  the  one  hand,  you  will  seldom  succeed  in 
making  them  do  so  ;  on  the  other,  those  who  notice  you 
will  think-  you  are  vain  of  your  talents.  Make  up  your 
mind  that  you  are  to  sing  only  for  the  sake  of  the  conversa- 
tion, and  be  consoled  that  those  who  can  appreciate  your 
singing  will  draw  near  and  listen.  The  gentleman  who  has 
conducted  you  to  the  piano  now  stays  to  turn  over  your 
pages  for  you  •  take  care  that  he  is  able  to  follow  you,  or 
give  him  a  sign  at  the  proper  moment,  otherwise  he  will  be 
turning  too  soon,  and  bring  you  both  into  terrible  confu- 
sion. The  best  way  of  giving  receptions,  which  cost  very 
little,  is  to  fix  on  some  day  of  the  week,  and  repeat  them 
every  time  it  comes  round.  You  then  issue  invitations  to 
a  very  much  larger  number  than  your  rooms  will  hold  and 
for  the  whole  course  of  receptions,  so  that  your  friends  can 
choose  the  weeks  most  convenient  to  them.  If  at  the  first 
party  you  should  only  have  a  dozen  guests,  do  not  be  dis- 
heartened. If  your  rooms  are  well  lit  up  and  well  arranged, 
and  yourself  agreeable,  they  will  be  filled  to  excess  before 
the  middle  of  the  season. 

Private  concerts  and  amateur  theatricals  ought  to  be 
very  good  to  be  successful.  Professionals  alone  should  be 
engaged  for  the  former,  none  but  real  amateurs  for  the 
latter.  Both  ought  to  be,  but  rarely  are,  followed  by  a 
supper,  since  they  are  generally  very  fatiguing,  if  not  posi- 
tively trying.  In  any  case,  refreshments  and  ices  should 
be  handed  between  the  songs  and  the  acts.  Private  concerts 
are  often  given  in  the  "  morning,"  that  is,  from  two  to 


CONCERTS,  TEA-PARTIES,  MATINEES.  351 

six  P.M. ;  in  the  evening  their  hours  are  from  eight  to  eleven. 
The  rooms  should  be  arranged  in  the  same  manner  as  for  a 
reception,  the  guests  should  be  seated,  and  as  music  is  the 
avowed  object,  a  general  silence  preserved  while  it  lasts. 
Between  the  songs  the  conversation  ebbs  back  again,  and 
the  party  takes  the  general  form  of  a  reception.  For 
private  theatricals,  however,  where  there  is  no  special 
theatre,  and  where  the  curtain  is  hung,  as  is  most  common, 
between  the  folding-doors,  the  audience-room  must  be  filled 
with  chairs  and  benches  in  rows,  and,  if  possible,  the  back 
rows  raised  higher  than  the  others.  These  are  often  re- 
moved when  the  performance  is  over,  and  the  guests  then 
converse,  or  sometimes  even  dance.  Diiring  the  acting  it  is 
rude  to  talk,  except  in  a  very  low  tone,  and,  be  it  good  or 
bad,  you  would  never  think  of  hissing. 

The  tea-party  is  a  much  more  sociable  affair,  and  may  vary 
in  the  number  of  guests  from  ten  to  thirty.  The  lighting  is 
by  ordinary  lamps  and  candles ;  two  rooms  suffice,  and  tea 
should  be  either  handed  or  set  out  on  a  side-table  in  one  of 
them.  The  guests  should  be  chiefly  of  one  set,  and  known 
to  one  another ;  but  if  they  are  not  so,  they  must  be  gene- 
rally introduced.  The  ladies  all  sit  down,  and  so  may  the 
gentlemen  if  they  like,  which  they  are,  poor  things,  almost 
forbidden  to  do  at  receptions.  The  entertainment  consists 
mostly  of  music  and  singing,  by  ladies  and  gentlemen  pre- 
sent ;  but  sometimes  a  few  round  games  are  got  up  for  the 
torture  of  old  bachelors  like  myself.  If  the  singing  is  good, 
a  tea-fight  may  be  a  pleasant  thing,  especially  for  curates 
and  old  maids ;  but  in  London  it  does  not  come  under  the 
head  of  "  gaieties,"  and  therefore  the  invitations  to  it  must 
be  given  only  a  day  or  two  before,  either  by  word  of  mouth 
or  a  friendly  note. 

The  matinee  requires  three  things  to  make  it  successful, 
good  grounds,  a  good  band,  and  good  weather.  Money  can 
command  the  first  two,  but,  as  we  have  no  check  over  the 
clerk  of  the  weather,  matinees  are  as  well  left  alone  in 
towns,  where  people  will  dress  exorbitantly  for  everything 


352  MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES'. 

of  this  kind.  However,  if  well  arranged,  and  under  pro- 
pitious skies,  a  matinee  is  a  very  good  thing  for  Urbanus, 
who  loves  sunshine,  flowers,  and  gay  toilets.  The  company 
should  be  very  numerous,  comprising  all  the  best-dressed 
people  you  know,  for  dress  is  everything  on  these  occasions. 
In  addition  to  a  good  brass-band,  you  would  do  well  to  ob- 
tain the  services  of  a  glee  club  to  sing  in  the  open  air 
between  the  instrumental  pieces ;  but  then  a  matinee  be- 
comes a  very  expensive  entertainment,  and  so,  in  fact,  it 
must  be.  You  invite  your  guests  for  one  o'clock,  they 
arrive  at  two,  and  disperse  in  time  to  dress  for  dinner. 
They  content  themselves  with  walking  about,  listening  to 
the  music,  and  taking  refreshments,  or  if  you  give  it  them, 
a  lunch,  in  the  large  marquee,  which,  of  course,  you  have 
had  erected  on  the  lawn.  You  have  no  trouble  with  your 
guests,  and  never  dream  of  introducing  them  ;  you  bring 
them  together  under  propitious  circumstances,  and  they 
must  amuse  themselves.  In  matinees  abroad  they  often 
dance.  They  are  there  very  fashionable  and  much  liked. 
In  these  open-air  parties,  in  large  towns  and  their  neigh- 
bourhood, people  who  do  not  know  one  another  remain  in 
that  condition  ;  they  are  rarely,  if  ever,  introduced,  and 
they  never  dream  of  speaking  to  one  another  without  an 
introduction.  Very  different,  and  much  more  sensible,  is  the 
foreign  custom. 

For  these  town-parties,  there  are  one  or  two  general 
rules  :  The  hostess  should  not  be  too  empresse  nor  bustling 
in  her  welcome,  she  should  receive  every  one  alike  with 
amiable  dignity,  and  above  all,  if  she  expects  a  lion  or  a 
grandee,  should  dismiss  him  from  her  thoughts  till  he 
comes,  and  then  make  no  difference  in  his  reception  to  that 
of  the  other  guests.  If  she  does  make  a  distinction,  the 
latter  will  smile  cynically  at  her  toadyism,  and  contrast 
their  own  reception  with  that  of  "  the  favoured  guest."  To 
make  up  for  this  restraint  on  her  enthusiasm,  she  is  not 
obliged  to  know  much  about  the  domestic  affairs  of  her 
guests.    In  good  company  of  this  kind,  the  babies  and 


COTJNTRY-PAETIES. 


353 


nurserymaids,  the  son  at  the  Cape,  and  the  daughter  in  India, 
are  forgotten  for  the  time,  or  reserved  for-  the  smaller  tea- 
party.  In  the  conversazioni  and  receptions,  you  "will  hear 
none  but  public  subjects, — every  one's  property — brought 
on  the  tapis.  This  knot  you  take  for  statesmen,  for  as  you 
pass,  each  one  of  them  is  prophesying,  with  a  shrewd  look, 
what  next  step  the  Emperor  will  take.  No,  sir,  they  are 
simply  fathers  of  families.  Here  you  are  certain  you  have 
lighted  on  a  batch  of  critics,  male  and  female  ;  could  ever 
any  one  else  show  such  venom  in  the  discussion  of  the  last 
celebrated  book  1  Nothing  of  the  kind  ;  critics  are  doves 
in  company,  and  these  are  only  educated  men,  with  as  little 
actual  connexion  with  literature  as  a  sailor  on  the  mizen- 
yard.  Then  these  men  who  are  scientifically  discussing 
some  recent  discovery,  and  hanging  profoundly  over  the  fate 
of  some  engineering  enterprise,  are  merely  thinkers,  by  no 
means  professional  j  while  those  who  talk  of  Lord  John  as 
an  intimate  chum,  and  Pam.  as  a  man  they  could  clap  on 
the  shoulder,  are  not  M.P.'s,  but  only  club-loungers.  Even 
the  gossip  takes  a  public  character,  and  the  scandal  is  about 
people  known  to  the  whole  world  of  fashion.  Then,  again, 
the  manner  of  the  guests  is  calm  and  easy  •  there  is  no 
necessity  to  create  mirth,  the  laughter  is  quiet,  even  the 
wit  is  received  with  a  smile,  and  discussions  are  carried  on 
with  interest  but  not  with  excitement.  All  the  company 
too,  is  for  the  time  on  an  equality,  and  it  is  bad  taste  to 
recognise  a  man's  rank  in  a  marked  manner.  Precedence 
is  best  laid  aside,  and  the  curate  may,  if  he  likes,  pass  out 
of  the  room  before  the  bishop.  In  short,  the  reception  is  a 
kind  of  evening  lounge. 

Very  different  is  the  character  of  country-parties.  If 
they  are  more  sociable  and  friendly,  because  almost  every- 
body is  known  to  one  another,  if  there  is  less  formality  and 
display  about  them,  there  is  also  less  equality.  If  it  is  not 
necessary  to  light  your  rooms  brilliantly,  and  secure  the 
services  of  professional  singers,  in  short,  to  supply  some 
particular  attraction,  it  is  incumbent  to  bow  to  the  local 
2  Y 


351  MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 

position  held  by  each  guest.  Not  indeed  that  this  is  good 
style,  but  that  it  is  expected  by  people  who  very  often  have 
little  more  than  their  position  to  recommend  them.  The 
deputy-lieutenant  may  be  a  much  duller  man  than  the  small 
squire,  but  in  his  own  county  he  would  take  it  very  ill  if 
you  did  not  show  him  more  attention  than  to  the  other.  The 
vicar  may,  and  often  is  far  less  agreeable  than  the  curate, 
but  the  latter  would  never  dream  of  making  a  move  to  go 
before  the  stately  incumbent  had  risen.  Then,  too,  the 
conversation  always  verges  on  local  and  rural  topics.  The 
two  squires  talk  of  crops,  game,  boundaries,  and  magisterial 
questions,  and  find  them  far  more  interesting  than  the  fate 
of  Europe.  Their  wives  discuss  the  flower-show,  the  hunt- 
ball,  the  return  of  some  family  to  the  neighbourhood.  The 
young  people  get  a  step  farther  in  year-long  flirtations,  and 
discuss  with  more  or  less  acerbity  the  engagements  of  their 
mutual  friends.  In  short,  people,  rather  than  things,  are 
the  themes  of  interest,  and  a  stranger  in  a  country-party 
finds  himself  almost  a  foreigner  in  the  land.  And  woe  to 
him  if  he  does  not  know  by  what  title  your  nearest  pack 
of  hounds  is  called,  or  is  ignorant  of  the  noble  sport  of  hunt- 
ing, for,  heavy-headed  after  their  huge  dinners,  he  will  find 
most  of  the  gentlemen  unable  to  exert  their  brains  farther 
than  to  recall  "  that  splendid  run,"  or  speculate  on  whether 
the  next  "  master  "  will  be  a  light  or  a  heavy  weight. 

However,  in  country-parties,  the  strangers  in  the  land 
receive  as  a  rule  the  greatest  attention,  and  if  you,  coming 
from  town,  find  the  company  heavy,  and  the  conversation 
narrow,  you  will  at  least  have  the  consolation  of  infusing 
new  spirit  into,  and  quickening  the  movement,  of  clogged 
brains. 

Country-parties  consist  chiefly  of  small  dances  which  are 
not  balls ;  tea-parties ;  private  fetes,  which  are  much  the 
same  as  the  matinees  already  described ;  and  pic-nics. 
Sociability  and  easy  mirth  is  the  main  feature  in  all  of 

m.  As  you  are  among  people  whom  you  know  for  the 
part,  you  may  be  more  familiar  in  your  general 


TEHC-EE  GKOtJIvD. 


355 


manners,  and  to  be  agreeable,  you  are  expected  to  be  merry, 
humorous,  and  ready  for  anything  that  may  be  proposed. 
On  the  other  hand,  as  prejudices  are  always  greater  in  pro- 
portion to  the  narrowness  of  the  mind,  and  are  sometimes 
especially  deep-rooted  in  the  squires  and  clergymen  whom 
you  meet  in  these  gatherings,  you  must  be  very  careful  how 
you  approach  the  topics  which  most  interest  them.  I 
have  known  a  whole  party,  at  one  moment  full  of  merri- 
ment and  laughter,  suddenly  cast  into  the  deepest  gloom  of 
horror  and  dismay,  by  the  innocent  allusion  of  a  stranger  to 
"  M.B."  waistcoats,  the  rector  who  was  present  being  high- 
church.  On  the  same  principle  it  is  wise  to  avoid  speaking 
much  of  the  church  itself,  the  schools,  the  dispensary,  the 
preserves,  the  poor,  and  so  forth,  of  the  village,  as  country 
people  are  somewhat  given  to  making  these  subjects  matters 
for  serious  difference,  and  it  is  a  rare  case  for  the  squire  and 
the  clergyman  to  be  perfectly  agreed  on  all  points  where 
their  supposed  rights  can  possibly  clash.  I  have  known  a 
village  divided  into  a  deadly  feud  for  ten  years  by  nothing 
but  the  pews  in  the  church — one  party  wishing  to  keep 
them,  and  another  to  pull  them  down  ;  and,  though  these 
religious-minded  people  met  perhaps  once  a  month  at  various 
tea-parties  and  dinners,  the  church  was  never  spoken  of, 
and  a  stranger  who  might  have  unconsciously  mentioned 
the  pews  therein,  would  have  thrown  in  a  firebrand  which 
would  have  lit  up  the  whole  parish. 

On  entering  a  country  party,  you  at  once  seek  out  the 
lady  of  the  house,  and  shake  hands  with  her.  The  same 
process  is  then  performed  with  those  members  of  the  family 
whom  you  know,  and  any  other  of  your  acquaintance  pre- 
sent. In  taking  leave  the  same  process  is  repeated,  and  a 
simple  bow  would  generally  be  considered  as  an  impolite- 
ness. The  invitations  to  these  parties  partake  of  the  same 
sociable  character,  and  are  made  by  friendly  notes  sent  a 
few  days  beforehand,  or  even  on  the  very  day  itself.  You 
have  not  the  same  liberty  of  declining  them  as  in  town,  nor 
can  you  have  recourse  to  the  polite  formula  of  a  "  previous 


356 


MOKNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 


engagement,"  since  everybody  knows  what  is  going  on  in  the 
neighbourhood,  and  who  is  to  be  at  any  party.  You  must 
therefore  rind  a  good  excuse  or  go.  For  my  part,  I  think  we 
should  be  better  Christians,  and  just  as  friendly,  if  we  stated 
our  real  reasons :  "I  regret  that  I  have  not  the  time  to  spare," 
"  I  do  not  feel  inclined  for  society,"  or,  "  I  have  no  dress 
for  the  occasion."  Such  replies  might  create  a  little  surprise, 
but  people  must  admire  their  candour,  and  everybody  could 
sympathize  with  the  writer's  feelings.  At  any  rate,  you  must 
avoid  a  sneer  such  as  that  given  by  a  too  candid  lady  to  a 
clergyman's  wife  who  had  invited  her  to  a  quiet  little  discus- 
sion of  muffins  on  Shrove  Tuesday.  "  I  regret,"  she  wrote, 
"  that  I  shall  be  unable  to  accept  your  invitation,  as' the  near 
approach  of  Lent  would  preclude  my  joining  in  any  festivities." 

Country  hours,  again,  are  much  earlier  than  those  in 
town.  Except  at  great  houses,  where  the  dinner  hour  is 
seven,  eight  o'clock  is  the  usual  time  for  a  tea-party  to  begin, 
and  before  twelve  the  last  guest  departs.  It  is  necessary 
to  be  punctual  in  the  country,  whatever  you  may  be  in 
town ;  and  it  would  be  considered  as  an  unwarrantable 
assumption  of  fashion  to  arrive  an  hour  after  the  time  stated 
in  the  invitation. 

Tea  is  handed  in  the  drawing-room,  or,  if  the  party  be  a 
small  one,  so  arranged  that  all  may  sit  round.  In  the  latter 
case  the  tea-table  must  be  plenteously  spread  with  cakes, 
fruit,  &c.  &c.  Appetites  flourish  in  the  free  air  of  hills  and 
meadows,  and,  as  a  rule,  country  parties  have  more  of  the 
feeding  system  about  them  than  those  of  town.  Thus, 
unless  dinner  has  been  at  a  late  hour,  it  is  usual  to  have  a 
supper  laid  out,  or  at  least  sandwiches,  jellies,  and  trifle  at 
a  side-table.  This,  I  must  say,  is  a  more  agreeable  feature 
of  country  entertainments  than  that  of  round  games.  At 
these,  however,  you  must  not  look  bored  ;  you  must  really 
for  the  time  believe  yourself  a  child  again,  allow  yourself  to 
be  amused,  and  enter  heart  and  soul  into  it.  Endeavour 
by  every  means  in  your  power  to  add  to  the  general  hila- 
rity; talk  without  restraint,  enter  into  innocent  rivalry  with 


OUT-OF-DOORS. 


357 


the  young  ladies  ;  or  if  one  of  them  yourself,  challenge 
the  youthful,  especially  the  shy,  of  the  other  sex.  You  must 
find  something  to  laugh  at  in  the  merest  trifle,  but  never 
roar  or  shriek.  Never  claim  your  winnings,  but  if  they  are 
offered  you  must  take  them,  except  from  a  young  lady,  and 
from  her  on  no  consideration. 

While  we  are  melting  here  under  the  dog-star,  and  crush- 
ing up  crowded  staircases,  and  into  ovens  of  rooms  in  the 
tightest  dress  that  is  worn,  our  country  cousins  are  really 
enjoying  themselves.  They  are  now  having  tea  out  on  the 
lawn,  with  bond  fide  cream  to  it  too,  none  of  our  miserable 
delusions  of  calves'  brains  (beautiful  satire  on  those  who 
credulously  swallow  them)  or  chalk  and  water.  Then  when 
tea  is  done,  they  are  positively  going  to  dance  here  on  the 
lawn,  or  there  in  that  large  empty  out-house,  resolved  that 
nothing  shall  induce  them  to  go  into  the  house  again  till 
night ;  and  if  they  do  not  dance,  they  bring  out  every  chair 
that  is  in  it,  and  sitting  round,  play  at  hunt-the-ring,  post, 
turning  the  trencher,  or  Blind  Man's  Buff.  What  dear  children 
they  are !  how  pleasant  to  see  the  old  gentlemen  dragged  in 
by  the  young  girls,  and  made  to  play  nolentes  volentes  !  how 
charming  the  laughter  of  these  merry  maidens,  and  the 
playful  flirtation  of  the  sturdy  youths,  who  all  day  long 
have  been  carrying  a  gun  or  breaking  a  new  horse  in  !  Well, 
well,  if  there  is  beauty  enough  to  make  us  bless  the  ex- 
citement which  brings  the  colour  to  some  lovely  cheek, — if 
the  young  men  can  really  help  looking  bored,  and  the  old 
ones  sham  delight  (as  we  old  ones  can,  let-  me  tell  you,  sir), 
why,  then,  these  out-door  gaieties  may  be  fresh  and  reviving 
and  cheering  to  us  dusty,  withered,  smoke-dried  townsmen. 
But  then  where  is  conversation  1  Swamped  in  badinage 
which,  if  I  am  not  a  young  lover,  I  cannot  possibly  pump 
up.  And  where  is  that  flow  of  thought  and  diversity  of 
imagination  which  makes  one  hour  with  a  clever  man  or  a 
femme  d 'esprit  worth  twenty-four  in  the  presence  of  a  mere 
beauty  and  animal  spirits  ?  Not  there. 

So,  then,  they  are  matters  of  taste  these  little  parties, 


358  MORNING  AND  EVENING  PARTIES. 

but  not  so  the  etiquette  they  require.  You  must  be  gay, 
you  must  laugh  and  chuckle  and  all  that,  but  you  must  not 
overdo  it ;  you  must  not  let  your  merriment  carry  you  away. 
In  out-door  games  especially,  you  must  be  careful  not  to 
romp,  not  to  rush  and  tear  about,  nor  be  boisterously  merry. 
It  may  be  difficult  to  steer  between  the  Scylla  of  dullness 
and  the  Charybdis  of  romping,  but  you  must  always  remem- 
ber what  dear  fragile  things  the  ladies  are,  and  treat  them 
tenderly.  These  games  are,  in  fact,  a  severe  test  of  politeness, 
grace,  and  delicacy,  and  if  I  wanted  to  discover  your  title 
to  the  name  of  gentleman  or  lady,  I  should  set  you  to  play 
at  post  or  hunt-the-ring,  or  what  not  of  child's  sport. 

Lastly,  as  to  pic-nics,  they  are  no  longer  the  cheery 
gatherings  of  other  days,  when  each  person  brought  his 
quantum,  and  when  on  opening  the  baskets-  there  were 
found  to  be  three  pigeon-pies  but  no  bread,  four  contribu- 
tions of  mustard  but  no  salt,  dozens  of  wine  but  no  beer, 
and  so  on.  The  only  thing  you  are  asked  to  bring  in  the 
present  day  is  your  very  best  spirits  ;  and  everybody  is  ex- 
pected to  contribute  these,  for  you  cannot  have  too  much 
of  them.  A  castle,  a  church,  or  something  to  see,  about 
which  to  create  an  interest,  is  necessary  to  a  successful 
pic-nic,  much  more  so  than  champagne,  which  it  is  perhaps 
safer  not  to  have,  though  it  is  always  expected.  Servants 
ought,  if  possible,  to  be  dispensed  with,  and  a  free  flow  of 
the  easiest  merriment,  not  free  in  itself,  it  will  be  under- 
stood, should  be  allowed  and  encouraged. 

The  collation,  cold  of  course,  is  generally  the  first  object 
after  arriving  at  the  rendezvous.  It  is  of  necessity  somewhat 
rough,  for  these  same  pic-nics  are  the  happy  occasions  when 
people  try  to  forget  that  they  are  highly  civilized,  but  are 
scarcely  ever  allowed  to  do  so.  However,  nothing  is  more 
justly  ridiculous  than  that  people  who  come  out  to  play  the 
rustic  should  be  accompanied  by  a  bevy  of  Mercuries,  and 
that  while  we  attempt  to  imitate  the  simplicity  of  rural 
dryad  life,  spreading  our  viands  beneath  the  shady  trees, 
we  should  have  some  half-dozen  stately  acolytes  of  fashion 


PIC-NICS. 


359 


moving  about  us  with  all  the  solemnity  of  a  London  dinner- 
party. The  servants  then  should  be  driven  away  cb  force 
cFarmes,  and  the  gentlemen  take  their  place.  Then  see  how 
immensely  it  increases  the  general  hilarity  to  watch  Fitz- 
boots  of  the  Muffineers  sent  about  by  the  pretty  misses, 
made  of  use  for  the  first  time  in  his  life,  and  with  his 
hands  so  full  that  he  cannot  even  stroke  out  his  splendid 
whiskers. 

Certainly  the  barriers  of  society  ought  to  be  broken  down 
on  these  occasions.  Everybody  should  be  perfectly  at  his 
ease,  and  if  the  people  are  really  well  bred,  the  liberty  thus 
given  will  not  be  the  least  abused.  A  man  who  drinks  too 
much  champagne,  or  a  young  lady  who  strolls  away  for  a 
couple  of  hours  with  a  young  man  among  the  ruins  or  in 
the  wood,  should  scarcely  be  asked  to  join  a  second  pic-nic. 
Then,  too,  free  as  they  are,  gay,  laughing,  and  careless,  they 
should  not  descend  to  noisy  romping.  There  ought  to  be 
a  fair  sprinkling  of  chaperons  and  elderly  people,  not  to 
damp  the  gaiety  but  to  restrain  the  carelessness  of  the 
younger  ones.  After  all,  let  youth  be  youth,  and  let  it 
have  its  fling.  If  it  be  really  innocent  and  well  brought 
up,  Miss  Etiquette,  prim  old  maid,  will  have  nothing  to 
say  ;  if  otherwise,  then  she  may  preach  in  vain  at  a  carni- 
val. If  our  spirits  are  good  (and  I  feel  quite  young  again 
in  talking  of  these  things)  let  us  enjoy  them  to  the  fullest, 
and  be  as  silly  and  as  wild  as  the  youngest.  Never  shoot 
a  skylark  while  soaring ;  never  curb  young  mirth  in  its 
proper  enjoyment.  % 


CHAPTER  XV. 


MARRIAGE. 

At  a  time  when  our  feelings  are  or  ought  to  be  most  sus- 
ceptible, when  the  happiness  or  misery  of  a  condition  in 
which  there  is  no  medium  begins,  we  are  surrounded  with 
forms  and  etiquettes  which  rise  before  the  unwary  like 
spectres,  and  which  even  the  most  rigid  ceremonialists 
regard  with  a  sort  of  dread. 

"Were  it  not,  however,  for  these  forms,  and  for  this  neces- 
sity of  being  en  regie,  there  might,  on  the  solemnization  of 
marriage,  be  confusion,  forgetfulness,  and  even — speak  it 
not  aloud — irritation  among  the  parties  most  intimately 
concerned.  Excitement  might  ruin  all.  Without  a  defi- 
nite programme,  the  old  maids  of  the  family  would  be 
thrusting  in  advice.  The  aged  chronicler  of  past  events, 
or  grandmother  by  the  fireside,  would  have  it  all  her  way ; 
the  venerable  bachelor  in  tights,  with  his  blue  coat  and 
metal  buttons,  might  throw  everything  into  confusion  by 
his  suggestions.  It  is  well  that  we  are  independent  of  all 
these  interfering  advisers  ;  that  there  is  no  necessity  to 
appeal  to  them.  Precedent  has  arranged  it  all ;  we  have 
only  .to  put  in  or  understand  what  that  stern  authority  has 
laid  down ;  how  it  has  been  varied  by  modern  changes ; 
and  we  must  just  shape  our  course  boldly.  "  Boldly 
But  there  is  much  to  be  done  before  we  come  to  that. 
First,  there  is  the  offer  to  be  made.  Well  may  a  man  who 
contemplates  such  a  step  say  to  himself,  with  Dryden, 

"  These  are  the  realms  of  everlasting  fate  ;" 
for,  in  truth,  on  marriage  one's  wellbeing  not  only  here  but 
3C0 


PEEUMINAEIES. 


361 


even  hereafter  mainly  depends.  But  it  is  not  on  this  bearing 
of  the  subject  that  we  wish  to  enter,  contenting  ourselves 
with  a  quotation  from  the  Spectator: 

"  It  requires  more  virtues  to  make  a  good  husband  or 
wife,  than  what  go  to  the  finishing  any  the  most  shining 
character  whatsoever." 

England  is  distinguished  from  most  of  the  continental 
countries  by  the  system  of  forming  engagements,  and  the 
mode  in  which  they  are  carried  on  until  terminated  by 
marriage. 

In  France,  an  engagement  is  an  affair  of  negotiation 
and  business ;  and  the  system  in  this  respect  greatly  re- 
sembles the  practice  in  England,  on  similar  occasions,  a 
hundred  and  fifty  or  two  hundred  years  ago,  or  even  later. 
France  is  the  most  unchanging  country  in  the  world  in 
her  habits  and  domestic  institutions,  and  foremost  among 
these  is  her  " Marriage  de  convenance"  or  u  Marriage  de 
raison." 

It  is  thus  brought  about.  So  soon  as  a  young  girl  quits 
the  school  or  convent  where  she  has  been  educated,  her 
friends  cast  about  for  a  suitable  parti.  Most  parents  in 
France  take  care,  so  soon  as  a  daughter  is  born,  to  put 
aside  a  sum  of  money  for  her  "  dot"  as  they  well  know  that 
whatever  may  be  her  attractions,  that  is  indispensable  in 
order  to  be  married.  They  are  ever  on  the  look  out  for  a 
youth  with  at  least  an  equal  fortune,  or  more  ;  or,  if  they 
are  rich,  for  title,  which  is  deemed  tantamount  to  fortune  ; 
even  the  power  of  writing  those  two  little  letters  De  before 
your  name  has  some  value  in  the  marriage  contract.  Having 
satisfied  themselves  they  thus  address  the  young  lady  : — 
"  It  is  now  time  for  you  to  be  married  ;  I  know  of  an  eli- 
gible match  ;  you  can  see  the  gentleman,  either  at  such  a 
ball  or  (if  he  is  serious)  at  church.  I  do  not  ask  you  to 
take  him  if  his  appearance  is  positively  disagreeable  to  you ; 
if  so,  we  will  look  out  for  some  one  else." 

As  a  matter  of  custom,  the  young  lady  answers  that  the 
will  of  her  parents  is  hers ;  she  consents  to  take  a  survey 
%z 


362 


MARRIAGE. 


of  hini  to  whom  her  destiny  is  to  be  entrusted ;  and  let  us 
presume  that  he  is  accepted,  though  it  does  not  follow,  and 
sometimes  it  takes  several  months  to  look  out,  as  it  does 
for  other  matters,  a  house,  or  a  place,  or  a  pair  of  horses. 
However,  she  consents  ;  a  formal  introduction  takes  place ; 
the  promis  calls  in  full  dress  to  see  his  future  wife  ;  they 
are  only  just  to  speak  to  each  other,  and  those  few  unmean- 
ing words  are  spoken  in  the  presence  of  the  bride-elect's 
mother ;  for  the  French  think  it  most  indiscreet  to  allow 
the  affections  of  a  girl  to  be  interested  before  marriage, 
lest  during  the  arrangements  for  the  contract  all  should  be 
broken  off.  If  she  has  no  dislike,  it  is  enough  ;  never  for 
an  instant  are  the  engaged  couple  left  alone,  and  in  very 
few  cases  do  they  go  up  to  the  altar  with  more  than  a  few 
weeks'  acquaintance,  and  usually  with  less.  The  whole 
matter  is  then  arranged  by  notaries,  who  squabble  over  the 
marriage-contract,  and  get  all  they  can  for  their  clients. 

The  contract  is  usually  signed  in  France  on  the  day 
before  the  marriage,  when  all  is  considered  safe ;  the  reli- 
gious portion  of  their  bond  takes  place  in  the  church,  and 
then  the  two  young  creatures  are  left  together  to  understand 
each  other  if  they  can,  and  to  love  each  other  if  they  will ; 
if  not  they  must  content  themselves  with  what  is  termed, 
un  menage  de  Paris. 

In  England  formerly  much  the  same  system'  prevailed. 
A  boy  of  fourteen,  before  going  on  his  travels,  was  con- 
tracted to  a  girl  of  eleven,  selected  as  his  future  wife  by 
parents  or  guardians ;  he  came  back  after  the  grande  tour 
to  fulfil  the  engagement.  But  by  law  it  was  imperative 
that  forty  days  should  at  least  pass  between  the  contract 
and  the  marriage  ;  during  which  dreary  interval  the  couple, 
leashed  together  like  two  young  greyhounds,  would  have 
time  to  think  of  the  future.  In  France,  the  perilous 
period  of  reflection  is  not  allowed.  "  I  really  am  so  glad 
we  are  to  take  a  journey,"  said  a  young  French  lady  to  her 
friends  ;  "  I  shall  thus  get  to  know  something  about  my 
husband ;  he  is  quite  a  stranger  to  me."   Some  striking  in- 


THE  PROPOSAL. 


363 


stances  of  the  Marriage  de  convenance  being  infringed  on, 
have  lately  occurred  in  France.  The  late  Monsieur  de  Toc- 
queville  married  for  love,  after  a  five  years'  engagement. 
Guizot,  probably  influenced  by  his  acquaintance  with  Eng- 
land, gave  his  daughters  liberty  to  choose  for  themselves,  and 
they  married  for  love* — "  a  very  indelicate  proceeding," 
remarked  a  French  comtesse  of  the  old  regime,  when  speak- 
ing of  this  arrangement. 

Nothing  can  be  more  opposed  to  all  this  than  our  Eng- 
lish system.  We  are  so  tenacious  of  the  freedom  of  choice, 
that  even  persuasion  is  thought  criminal. 

In  France  negotiations  are  often  commenced  on  the  lady's 
side  ;  in  England,  never.  Even  too  encouraging  a  manner, 
even  the  ordinary  attentions  of  civility,  are  occasionally  a 
matter  of  reproach.  We  English  are  jealous  of  the  delicacy 
of  that  sacred  bond,  which  we  presume  to  hope  is  to  spring 
out  of  mutual  affection.  It  is  not  here  our  province  to 
inquire  what  are  the  causes  that  have  so  sullied  the  mar- 
riage tie  in  England  ;  what  are  the  reasons  that  it  seldom 
holds  out  all  that  it  promises  ;  we  have  only  to  treat  of  the 
rules  and  etiquettes  which  preface  the  union.  A  gentleman 
who,  from  whatever  motives,  has  made  up  his  mind  to  marry, 
may  set  about  it  in  two  ways.  He  may  propose  by  letter  or 
in  words.  The  customs  of  English  society  imply  the  neces- 
sity of  a  sufficient  knowledge  of  the  lady  to  be  addressed. 
This,  even  in  this  country,  is  a  difficult  point  to  be  attained  ; 
and,  after  all,  cannot  be  calculated  by  time,  since,  in  large 
cities,  you  may  know  people  a  year,  and  yet  be  comparative 
strangers  ;  and,  meeting  them  in  the  country,  may  become 
intimate  in  a  week. 

Having  made  up  his  mind,  the  gentleman  offers — wisely, 
if  he  can,  in  speech.  Letters  are  seldom  expressive  of  what 
really  passes  in  the  mind  of  man  ;  or,  if  expressive,  seem 
foolish,  since  deep  feelings  are  liable  to  exaggeration. 
Every  written  word  may  be  the  theme  of  cavil.  Study, 


*  Two  brothers,  named  De  Witte. 

I 


364 


MARRIAGE. 


care,  which  avail  in  every  other  species  of  composition,  are 
death  to  the  lover's  effusion.  A  few  sentences,  spoken  in 
earnest,  and  broken  by  emotion,  are  more  eloquent  than 
pages  of  sentiment,  both  to  parent  and  daughter.  Let 
him,  however,  speak  and  be  accepted.  He  is  in  that  case 
instantly  taken  into  the  intimacy  of  his  adopted  relatives. 
Such  is  the  notion  of  English  honour,  that  the  engaged 
couple  are  henceforth  allowed  to  be  frequently  alone  to- 
gether, in -walking  and  at  home.  If  there  be  no  known 
obstacle  to  the  engagement,  the  gentleman  and  lady  are 
mutually  introduced  to  the  respective  relatives  of  each.  It 
is  for  the  gentleman's  family  to  call  first ;  for  him  to  make 
the  first  present ;  and  this  should  be  done  as  soon  as  possible 
after  the  offer  has  been  accepted.  It  is  a  sort  of  seal  put 
upon  the  affair.  The  absence  of  presents  is  thought  to  imply 
want  of  earnestness  in  the  matter.  This  present  generally 
consists  of  some  personal  ornament,  say,  a  ring,  and  should 
be  handsome,  but  not  so  handsome  as  that  made  for  the 
wedding-day.  During  the  period  that  elapses  before  the 
marriage,  the  betrothed  man  should  conduct  himself  with 
peculiar  deference  to  the  lady's  family  and  friends,  even  if 
beneath  his  own  station.  It  is  often  said  :  "I  marry  such 
a  lady,  but  I  do  not  mean  to  marry  her  whole  family." 
This  disrespectful  pleasantry  has  something  in  it  so  cold,  so 
selfish,  that  even  if  the  lady's  family  be  disagreeable,  there 
is  a  total  absence  of  delicate  feeling  to  her  in  thus  speaking 
of  those  nearest  to  her.  To  her  parents  especially,  the  con- 
duct of  the  betrothed  man  should  be  respectful ;  to  her 
sisters  kind,  without  familiarity ;  to  her  brothers,  every 
evidence  of  good-will  should  be  testified.  In  making 
every  provision  for  the  future,  in  regard  to  settlements, 
allowance  for  dress,  &c,  the  extent  of  liberality  conve- 
nient should  be  the  spirit  of  ail  arrangements.  Perfect 
candour  as  to  his  own  affairs,  respectful  consideration  for 
those  of  the  family  he  is  about  to  enter,  mark  a  true 
gentleman. 

In  France,  however  gay  and  even  blameable  a  man  may 


ENGAGEMENTS. 


365 


have  been  before  Ms  betrothal,  be  conducts  himself  with 
the  utmost  propriety  after  that  event.  A  sense  of  what  is 
due  to  a  lady  should  repress  all  habits  unpleasant  to  her  : 
smoking,  if  disagreeable  ;  frequenting  places  of  amusement 
without  her  ;  or  paying  attention  to  other  women.  In  this 
respect,  indeed,  the  sense  of  honour  should  lead  a  man  to 
be  as  scrupulous  when  his  future  wife,  is  absent  as  when  she 
is  present,  if  not  more  so.  These  rules  of  conduct  apply 
in  some  respects  to  ladies  also.  Nothing  is  so  disgusting 
or  unpromising  for  the  future  as  the  flirtations  which 
engaged  young  ladies  permit  themselves  to  carry  on  after 
they  have  pledged  themselves  to  one  person  alone.  This 
display  of  bad  taste  and  vanity  often  leads  to  serious 
unhappiness,  and  the  impropriety,  if  not  folly,  should  be 
strongly  pointed  out  to  the  young  lady  herself. 

The  attitude  assumed  by  a  flirt  is  often  the  impulse  of 
folly  more  than  of  boldness.  It  is  agreeable  to  her  vanity, 
she  finds,  to  excite  jealousy,  and  to  show  her  power.  Even 
if  the  rash  and  transient  triumph  produce  no  lasting  effect 
on  the  peace  of  mind  before  marriage,  it  is  often  recalled 
with  bitterness  after  marriage  by  him  who  was  then  a  slave, 
but  is  now  a  master. 

In  equally  bad  taste  is  exclusiveness.  The  devotions  of 
two  engaged  people  should  be  reserved  for  the  tete-ct-tete, 
and  women  are  generally  in  fault  when  it  is  otherwise. 
They  like  to  exhibit  their  conquest  ;  they  cannot  dispense 
with  attentions  ;  they  forget  that  the  demonstration  of  any 
peculiar  condition  of  things  in  society  must  make  some  one 
uncomfortable ;  the  young  lady  is  uncomfortable  because 
she  is  not  equally  happy  •  the  young  man  detests  what  he 
calls  nonsense  ;  the  old  think  there  is  a  time  for  all  things. 
All  sitting  apart,  therefore,  and  peculiar  displays,  are  in  bad 
taste ;  I  am  inclined  to  think  that  they  often  accompany 
insincerity,  and  that  the  truest  affections  are  those  which 
are  reserved  for  the  genuine  and  heartfelt  intimacy  of 
private  interviews.  At  the  same  time,  the  airs  of  indiffer- 
ence and  avoidance  should  be  equally  guarded  against ; 


3GG 


MARRIAGE. 


since,  however  strong  a  mutual  attachment  may  be,  such 
a  line  of  conduct  is  apt  needlessly  to  mislead  others,  and  so 
produce  mischief.  True  feeling,  and  a  ladylike  considera- 
tion for  others,  a  point  in  which  the  present  generation 
essentially  fails,  are  the  best  guides  for  steering  between  the 
extremes  of  demonstration  on  the  one  hand,  and  of  frigidity 
on  the  other. 

During  the  arrangement  of  pecuniary  matters,  a  young 
lady  should  endeavour  to  understand  what  is  going  on,  re- 
ceiving it  in  a  right  spirit.  If  she  has  fortune,  she  should, 
in  all  points  left  to  her,  be  generous  and  confiding,  at  the 
same  time  prudent.  Many  a  man,  she  should  remember, 
may  abound  in  excellent  qualities,  and  yet  be  improvident. 
He  may  mean  to  do  well,  yet  have  a  passion  for  building  ; 
he  may  be  the  very  soul  of  good-nature,  yet  fond  of  the 
gaming-table  ;  he  may  have  no  wrong  propensities  of  that 
sort,  and  yet  have  a  confused  notion  of  accounts,  and  be 
one  of  those  men  who  muddle  away  a  great  deal  of  money 
no  one  knows  how  ;  or  he  may  be  a  too  strict  economist, 
a  man  who  takes  too  good  care  of  the  pence,  till  he  tires 
your  very  life  out  about  an  extra  queen's-head  ;  or  he  may 
be  facile  and  weakly  good-natured,  and  have  a  friend  who 
preys  on  him,  and  for  whom  he  is  disposed  to  become  secu- 
rity. Finally,  the  beloved  Charles,  Henry,  or  Reginald 
may  have  none  of  these  propensities,  but  may  chance  to  be 
an  honest  merchant,  or  a  tradesman,  with  all  his  floating 
capital  in  business,  and  a  consequent  risk  of  being  one  day 
rich,  the  next  a  pauper. 

Upon  every  account,  therefore,  it  is  desirable  for  a  young 
lady  to  have  a  settlement  on  her  ;  and  she  should  not,  from 
a  weak  spirit  of  romance,  oppose  her  friends  who  advise  it, 
since  it  is  for  her  husband's  advantage  as  well  as  her  own. 
By  making  a  settlement  there  is  always  a  fund  which  cannot 
be  touched — a  something,  however  small,  as  a  provision  for 
a  wife  and  children  ;  and,  whether  she  have  fortune  or  not, 
this  ought  to  be  made.  An  allowance  for  dress  should  also 
be  arranged  ;  and  this  should  be  administered  in  such  a 


THE  LICENSE  AND  THE  TKOUSSEATJ.  367 

way  that  a  wife  should  not  have  to  ask  for  it  at  inconvenient 
hours,  and  thus  irritate  her  husband. 

Every  preliminary  being  settled,  there  remains  nothing 
except  to  fix  the  marriage  day,  a  point  always  left  to  the 
lady  to  advance  ;  and  next  to  settle  how  the  ceremonial  is 
to  be  performed  is  the  subject  of  consideration. 

Marriage  by  banns  is  confined  to  the  poorer  classes  ;  and 
a  license  is  generally  obtained  by  those  who  aspire  to  the 
"  habits  of  good  society."  It  is  within  the  recollection  of 
many,  even  middle-aged  persons,  that  the  higher  classes 
were,  some  twenty  years  ago,  married  only  by  special  license 
— a  process  costing  about  £50  instead  of  £5  :  and  therefore 
supposed  by  our  commercial  country  especially  to  denote 
good  society.  Special  licenses  have,  however,  become  un- 
fashionable. They  were  obtained  chiefly  on  account  of  their 
enabling  persons  to  be  married  at  any  hour,  whereas  the 
canon  prescribes  the  forenoon ;  after  mid-day  it  is  illegal 
to  celebrate  a  marriage.  In  some  instances,  during  the 
Crimean  war,  special  licenses  were  resorted  to  to  unite 
couples — when  the  bridegroom-elect  had  been  ordered  off, 
and  felt,  with  his  bride,  that  it  were  happier  for  both  to  be- 
long to  each  other  even  in  death.  But  the  ordinary  couples 
walk  up  to  the  altars  of  their  respective  parish  churches. 

It  is  to  be  lamented  that  previously  to  so  solemn  a 
ceremony,  the  thoughts  of  the  lady  concerned  must  neces- 
sarily be  engaged  for  some  time  upon  her  trousseau.  The 
trousseau  consists,  in  this  country,  of  all  the  habiliments 
necessary  for  a  lady's  use  for  the  first  two  or  three  years  of 
her  married  life  ;  like  every  other  outfit  there  are  always 
a  number  of  articles  introduced  into  it  that  are  next  to 
useless,  and  are  only  calculated  for  the  vain-glory  of  the 
ostentatious.  A  trousseau  may,  in  quiet  life,  be  formed 
upon  so  low  a  sum  as  £60  or  £70  ;  it  seldom  costs,  how- 
ever, less  than  £100,  and  often  mounts  up  to  £500.  By 
which  useless  extravagance  a  mass  of  things  that  soon 
cease  to  be  fashionable,  or  that  wear  out  from  being  laid 
by,  is  accumulated, 


36S 


MARRIAGE. 


The  trousseau  being  completed,  and  the  day  fixed,  it 
becomes  necessary  to  select  the  bridesmaids  and  the  bride- 
groom's man,  and  to  invite  the  guests. 

The  bridesmaids  are  from  two  to  eight  in  number.  It 
is  ridiculous  to  have  many,  as  the  real  intention  of  the 
bridesmaid  is,  that  she  should  act  as  a  witness  of  the  mar- 
riage. It  is,  however,  thought  a  compliment  to  include  the 
bride's  sisters  and  those  of  the  bridegroom's  relations  and 
intimate  friends,  in  case  sisters  do  not  exist. 

When  a  bride  is  young  the  bridesmaids  should  be  young ; 
but  it  is  absurd  to  see  a  "  single  woman  of  a  certain  age," 
or  a  widow,  surrounded  by  blooming  girls,  making  her  look 
plain  and  foolish.  For  them  the  discreet  woman  of  thirty- 
five  is  more  suitable  as  a  bridesmaid.  Custom  decides  that 
the  bridesmaids  should  be  spinsters,  but  there  is  no  legal 
objection  to  a  married  woman  being  a  bridesmaid  should  it 
be'  necessary,  as  it  might  be  abroad,  or  at  sea,  or  where 
ladies  are  few  in  number.  Great  care  should  be  taken 
not  to  give  offence  in  the  choice  of  bridesmaids  by  a 
preference,  which  is  always  in  bad  taste  on  momentous 
occasions. 

The  guests  at  the  wedding  should  be  -selected  with 
similar  attention  to  what  is  right  and  kind,  with  considera- 
tion to  those  who  have  a  claim  on  us,  not  only  to  what 
we  ourselves  prefer. 

In  London,  for  a  great  wedding  breakfast,  it  is  customary 
to  send  out  printed  cards  from  the  parents  or  guardians 
from  whose  house  the  young  lady  is  to  be  married. 

Early  in  the  day,  before  eleven,  the  bride  should  be 
dressed,  taking  breakfast  in  her  own  room.  In  England 
we  load  a  bride  with  lace  flounces  on  a  rich  silk,  and  even 
sometimes  with  ornaments.  In  France  it  is  always  re- 
membered, with  better  taste,  that  when  a  young  lady  goes 
up  to  the  altar,  she  is  "  encore  jeune  fille ;"  her  dress, 
therefore,  is  exquisitely  simple  ;  a  dress  of  tulle  over  white 
silk,  a  long  wide  veil  of  white  tulle,  going  down  to  the 
very  feet,  a  wreath  of  maiden-blush-roses  interspersed  with 


WEDDING-GARMENTS. 


369 


orange  flowers.  This  is  the  usual  costume  of  a  French  bride 
of  rank,  or  in  the  middle  classes  equally.  In  England, 
however,  one  must  conform  to  the  established  custom, 
although  it  is  much  to  be  wished  that  in  the.  classes  who 
can  set  the  example,  the  French  usage  should  be  adopted. 
A  lace  dress  over  silk  is  generally  worn  in  England.  The 
lace  should  be  of  the  finest  quality.  Brussels  or  Honiton 
is  the  most  delicate  and  becoming  •  the  veil  should  be  of 
the  same  sort  of  lace  as  the  dress.  A  wreath  of  roses  and 
orange  flowers  is  worn  round  the  head,  not  confining  the 
veil.  The  silk  ought  to  be  plain  ;  glace',  not  moire,  if  the 
bride  be  young,  as  the  latter  is  too  heavy ;  if  she  is  no  longer 
young,  nothing  is  so  becoming  as  moire'  silk,  either  white  or 
silver  grey.  Widows  and  ladies  not  young  are  usually  married 
in  bonnets,  which  should  be  of  the  most  elegant  description, 
trimmed  with  flowers  or  feathers,  according  to  the  taste  of 
the  wearer. 

The  gentleman's  dress  should  differ  little  from  his  full 
morning  costume.  The  days  are  gone  by  when  gentlemen 
were  married — as  a  recently  deceased  friend  of  mine  was — 
in  white  satin  breeches  and  waistcoat.  In  these  days  men 
show  less  joy  in  their  attire  at  the  fond  consummation  of 
their  hopes,  and  more  in  their  faces.  A  dark-blue  frock- 
coat — black  being  superstitiously  considered  ominous — a 
white  waistcoat,  and  a  pair  of  light  trousers,  suffice  for  the 
"happy  man."  The  neck-tie  also  should  be  light  and 
simple.  Polished  boots  are  not  amiss,  though  plain  ones 
are  better.  The  gloves  must  be  as  white  as  the  linen. 
Both  are  typical — for  in  these  days  types  are  as  important 
as  under  the  Hebrew  lawgivers — of  the  purity  of  mind  and 
heart  which  are  supposed  to  exist  in  their  wearer.  Eheu  ! 
after  all,  he  cannot  be  too  well  dressed,  for  the  more  gay 
he  is  the  greater  the  compliment  to  his  bride.  Flowers  in 
the  button-hole  and  a  smile  on  the  face  show  the  bride- 
groom to  be  really  a  "  happy  man." 

As  soon  as  the  carriages  are  at  the  door,  those  brides- 
maids who  happen  to  be  in  the  house,  and  the  other 
3  a 


370 


MARRIAGE. 


members  of  the  family  set  off  first.  The  bride  goes  last, 
with  her  father  and  mother,  or  with  her  mother  alone,  and 
the  brother  or  relative  who  is  to  represent  her.  father  in 
case  of  death  or  absence.  The  bridegroom,  his  friend,  or 
bridegroom's  man,  and  the  bridesmaids  ought  to  be  waiting 
in  the  church.  The  father  of  the  bride  gives  her  his  arm, 
and  leads  her  to  the  altar.  Here  her  bridesmaids  stand 
near  her,  as  arranged  by  the  clerk,  and  the  bridegroom 
takes  his  appointed  place. 

It  is  a  good  thing  for  the  bridegroom's  man  to  distribute 
the  different  fees  to  the  clergyman  or  clergymen,  the 
clerk,  and  pew-opener,  before  the  arrival  of  the  bride,  as  it 
prevents  confusion  afterwards. 

The  bride  stands  to  the  left  of  the  bridegroom,  and 
takes  the  glove  off  her  right  hand,  whilst  he  takes  his 
glove  off  his  right  hand.  The  bride  gives  her  glove  to  the 
bridesmaid  to  hold,  and  sometimes  to  keep,  as  a  good  omen. 

The  service  then  begins.  During  the  recital,  it  is  cer- 
tainly a  matter  of  feeling  how  the  parties  concerned  should 
behave  ;  but  if  tears  can  be  restrained,  and  a  quiet  modesty 
in  the  lady  displayed,  and  her  emotions  subdued,  it  adds 
much  to  the  gratification  of  others,  and  saves  a  few  pangs 
to  the  parents  from  whom  she  is  to  part. 

It  should  be  remembered  that  this  is  but  the  closing 
scene  of  a  drama  of  some  duration — first  the  offer,  then  the 
consent  and  engagement.  In  most  cases  the  marriage  has 
been  preceded  by  acts  which  have  stamped  the  whole  with 
certainty,  although  we  do  not  adopt  the  contract  system 
of  our  forefathers,  and  although  no  event  in  this  life  can 
be  certain. 

I  have  omitted  the  mention  of  the  bouquet,  because  it 
seems  to  me  always  an  awkward  addition  to  the  bride,  and 
that  it  should  be  presented  afterwards  on  her  return  to  the 
breakfast.  Gardenias,  if  in  season,  white  azalia,  or  even 
camellias,  with  very  little  orange  flowers,  form  the  bridal 
bouquet.  The  bridesmaids  are  dressed,  on  this  occasion, 
so  as  to  complete  the  picture  with  effect.    When  there  are 


THE  BREAKFAST. 


371 


six  or  eight,  it  is  usual  for  three  of  them  to  dress  in  one 
colour,  and  three  in  another.  At  some  of  the  most  fashion- 
able weddings  in  London,  the  bridesmaids  wear  veils — 
these  are  usually  of  net  or  tulle  ;  white  tarlatan  dresses, 
over  muslin  or  beautifully-worked  dresses,  are  much  worn, 
with  colours  introduced — pink  or  blue,  and  scarves  of  those 
colours  ;  and  white  bonnets,  if  bonnets  are  worn,  trimmed 
with  flowers  to  correspond.  These  should  be  simple,  but 
the  flowers  as  natural  as  possible,  and  of  the  finest  quality. 
The  bouquets  of  the  bridesmaids  should  be  of  mixed  flowers. 
These  they  may  have  at  church,  but  the  present  custom  is 
for  the  gentleman  of  the  house  to  present  them  on  their 
return  home,  previous  to  the  wedding  breakfast. 

The  register  is  then  signed.  The  bride  quits  the  church 
first  with  the  bridegroom,  and  gets  into  his  carriage,  and 
the  father  and  mother,  bridesmaids,  and  bridegroom's  man, 
follow  in  order  in  their  own. 

The  breakfast  is  arranged  on  one  or  more  tables,  and  is 
generally  provided  by  a  confectioner  when  expense  is  not 
an  object. 

Flowers,  skilfully  arranged  in  fine  Bohemian  glass,  or  in 
epergnes  composed  of  silver,  with  glass-dishes,  are  very 
ornamental  on  each  side  of  the  wedding-cake,  which  stands 
in  the  centre.  When  the  breakfast  is  sent  from  a  confec- 
tioner's, or  is  arranged  in  the  house  by  a  professed  cook, 
the  wedding-cake  is  richly  ornamented  with  flowers,  in 
sugar,  and  a  knot  of  orange-flowers  at  the  top.  At  each 
end  of  the  table  are  tea  and  coffee.  Soup  is  sometimes 
handed.  Generally  the  viands  are  cold,  consisting  of  poultry 
or  game,  lobster-salads,  chicken  or  fish  ct  la  Mayornaisses  ; 
hams,  tongues,  potted-meats,  prawns,  and  game-pies ;  raisins, 
savoury  jellies,  sweets  of  every  description — all  cold.  Ice 
is  afterwards  handed,  and,  before  the  healths  are  drunk,  v 
the  wedding-cake  is  cut  by  the  nearest  gentleman  and 
handed  round. 

The  father  then  proposes  the  health  of  the  bride  and 
bridegroom.    The  latter  is  expected  to  answer,  and  to 


372 


MARKIAGE. 


propose  the  bridegroom's  man.  The  bridegroom's  man 
returns  thanks,  and  pledges  the  bridesmaids,  who  answer 
through  the  bridegroom.  All  other  toasts  are  optional,  but 
it  is  de  rigueur  that  the  health  of  the  clergyman  or  clergy- 
men who  tied  the  knot,  if  present,  should  be  drunk. 

After  these  ceremonials  have  been  duly  performed,  and 
ample  justice  has  been  done  to  the  breakfast,  the  bride 
retires,  and  the  company  usually  take  leave  of  her  in  the 
drawing-room  and  depart. 

It  must  be  borne  in  mind  that  the  wedding-breakfast  is 
not  a  dinner*,  and  that  the  gentlemen  do  not  stay  behind 
to  take  wine  when  the  party  breaks  up  and  the  ladies  go 
up  stairs. 

A  few  words  before  this  sometimes  gay,  sometimes  sad 
scene  is  dismissed. 

The  good  sense  of  several  personages  in  the  higher  ranks 
has  broken  through  the  customary  appearance  of  the  bride  at 
the  breakfast,  or  indeed  if  she  breakfasts  at  all.  In  France, 
the  friends  assembled  to  witness  a  wedding  do  not  follow 
the  bride  home.  A  ball  or  soiree  generally  follows  in  the 
evening.  Most  people,  one  would  suppose,  would  be  gladly 
released  from  the  unnatural  repast  at  an  unusual  hour  ;  the 
headache  that  makes  the  rest  of  the  day  miserable ;  the 
hurry  of  the  morning  ;  the  lassitude  of  the  afternoon  ;  the 
tearful,  stumbling  speeches  of  "  dear  papa"  after  cham- 
pagne ;  the  modest,  shy,  broken  sentences  of  the  victimized 
bridegroom  ;  the  extremely  critical  situation  of  his  bachelor 
friend,  expected  to  be  in  love  with  all  the  bridesmaids  ;  the 
sighs  of  the  mother,  and  prognostics  of  maiden  aunts  ;  the 
heat,  the  disgust  to  those  articles  which  look  so  well  by 
candlelight,  but  do  not  bear  daylight — creams,  whips, 
jellies,  and  all  that  tribe  of  poisons ;  and,  worst  of  all,  the 
vast  expense  to  those  who  pay,  and  slight  degree  of  pleasure 
to  those  who  do  not — these  are  among  the  miseries  of  the 
wedding-breakfast. 

Then  the  peculiar  situation  of  the  bride,  tricked  Out 
with  finery  like  the  bceuf-gras  on  Shrove-Tuesday,  eveiy 


AFTER  THE  EVENT. 


373 


one  staring  at  her  to  see  how  she  looks ;  her  sensitive 
nature  all  excited  by  the  past  solemnity  ;  her  inmost  feel- 
ings crushed  or  raked  up,  as  may  be,  by  congratulations. 
To  subject  a  lady  to  such  torture  seems  an  act  of  cruelty 
in  cold  blood.  Suppose  her  joy  is  too  great  for  utterance, 
that  there  has  been  opposition  in  delay,  why  stick  her  up 
on  a  pedestal,  so  that  all  may  read  the  emotions  of  that 
throbbing  heart  beneath  its  encasement  of  Brussels  lace  1 
Suppose  that  heart  does  not  go  along  with  the  joy,  and  the 
compliments  and  the  hopes  of  ever-constant  felicity ;  "  let 
the  stricken  deer  go  weep ;"  do  not  parade  what  now 
had  better  be  forgotten.  To  some  heart  in  that  over- 
dressed assembly  of  smiling  friends  there  will  be  a  touch, 
in  whatever  is  said,  to  give  pain ;  on  occasions  also  where 
the  feelings  form  the  actual  theme,  the  less  said  the  better. 

The  bride  has,  however,  retired,  and  we  will  follow. 
Her  travelling-dress  is  now  to  be  assumed.  This  should  be 
good  in  quality,  but  plain,  like  a  handsome  dress  for  morn- 
ing calls.  An  elegant  bonnet,  not  too  plain,  a  handsome 
shawl  or  mantle,  and  coloured  gloves,  form  the  suitable 
costume,  of  which  it  is  impossible  to  define  the  component 
parts,  but  we  merely  recommend  that  the  colours  of  the 
dress,  and  shawl,  and  bonnet,  should  as  nearly  as  possible 
assimilate ;  that  the  style  should  be  of  the  very  best,  so 
that  the  impression  left  may  be  suitable,  agreeable,  and 
elegant. 

One  more  word  about  fees  to  servants.  These  form  a 
very  varying  point  on  a  marriage,  and  depend  on  the  con- 
dition in  life  of  the  parties.  A  considerable  sum  is  expected 
from  a  nobleman,  or  commoner  of  large  fortune,  but  a  much 
more  modest  calculation  for  a  professional  man,  or  a  son 
whose  father  is  still  living,  and  who  receives  merely  an 
allowance  to  enable  him  to  marry. 

Presents  are  usual,  first  from  the  bridegroom  to  the 
bridesmaids.  These  generally  consist  of  jewellery,  the  de- 
vice of  which  should  be  unique  or  quaint,  the  article  more 


374 


MAEEIAGE. 


elegant  than  massive.  The  female  servants  of  the  family, 
more  especially  servants  who  have  lived  many  years  in  their 
place,  also  expect  presents,  such  as  gowns  or  shawls ;  or  to 
a  very  valued  personal  attendant  or  housekeeper,  a  watch. 
But  on  such  points  discretion  must  suggest,  and  liberality 
measure  out  the  largesse  as  the  gift. 


CHAPTER  XVI. 


PRESENTATION"  AT  COTJET. 

Fiest  let  us  consider  wlic-  are  entitled  to  this  honour,  since 
there  are  regulations  on  the  point  which  it  is  both  unwise 
and  ill-bred  to  overlook. 

It  is  almost  useless  to  refer  to  the  nobility,  their  wives 
and  daughters,  who  are  of  course  eligible  for  presentation, 
as  are  all  persons  of  title  of  good  character  in  society. 

The  wives  and  daughters  of  the  clergy,  of  military  and 
naval  officers,  of  physicians  and  barristers,  can  be  presented. 
These  are  the  aristocratic  professions  j  but  the  wives  and 
daughters  of  general  practitioners  and  of  solicitors  are  not 
entitled  to  a  presentation.  The  wives  and  daughters  of 
merchants,  or  of  men  in  business  (excepting  bankers),  are 
not  entitled  to  presentation.  Nevertheless,  though  many 
ladies  of  this  class  were  refused  presentation  early  in  this 
reign,  it  is  certain  that  many  have  since  been  presented, 
whether  by  accident,  or  by  a  system  of  making  the  Queen 
more  accessible,  does  not  appear. 

No  divorcee,  nor  lady  married,  after  having  lived  with 
her  husband  or  with  any  one  else  before  her  marriage,  can 
be  received,  although  probably  many  upon  whose  conduct 
rests  some  stain  less  notorious  are  presented.  The  late 
Queen  Adelaide  felt  the  insult  very  severely,  when  the  ci- 
devant  cook-maid,  of  no  good  repute,  but  a  countess  by 
marriage,  was  brought  into  the  presence-chamber.  Queen 
Adelaide,  it  is  said,  could  with  difficulty  restrain  tears  of 
vexation.  The  countess's  name  was  called  out  in  vain. 
375 


376 


PRESENTATION  AT  COURT. 


The  Queen  turned  on  one  side,  and  suffered  her  to  pass  on 
unheeded,  the  King  simply  bowing  to  her  ladyship  as  she 
passed  on.  At  the  same  time,  the  Dowager-Countess  of 
Essex,  once  a  public  singer,  but  highly  respectable,  has 
always  been  received  with  marked  respect. 

In  seeking  for  a  lady  to  present  another  lady  at  Court 
(the  first  step),  the  higher  the  rank  and  the  more  unexcep- 
tionable the  character  the  better.  In  asking  this,  it  must  be 
remembered  that  it  is  a  favour  of  great  delicacy  to  require 
from  any  one  except  a  relation.  It  is  necessary  also  for 
the  lady  who  presents  to  be  at  the  drawing-room  on  the 
day  when  the  presentation  takes  place.  If  a  lady  of  rank 
cannot  be  found,  the  wife  of  a  county  member,  or  of  a  man 
high  in  office,  or  of  a  military  man  of  standing,  or  of  a  bar- 
rister's wife  whose  husband  is  of  high  standing,  can  be  re- 
sorted to.  Generally  speaking,  ladies  in  the  Queen's  house- 
hold, unless  of  high  position,  do  not  like  to  present  other 
ladies,  not  relations.  Any  lady  who  has  been  presented  at 
Court  may  present  in  her  turn. 

These  arrangements  having  been  made,  and  a  suitable 
dress  prepared,  the  next  step  is  to  consult  the  regulations 
specified  and  published  by  the  Lord  Chamberlain.  They 
are  as  follows  : — 

THE  QUEEN'S  LEVEES  OR  DRAWING-ROOMS. 

REGULATIONS 

To  be  observed  with  regard  to  the  Queerfs  Levees  at  St.  James's 
Palace. 

The  Noblemen  and'  Gentlemen,  who  propose  to  attend  Her 
Majesty's  Levees,  at  St.  James's  Palace,  are  requested  to  bring 
with  them  two  large  cards,  with  their  names  clearly  written 
thereon,  one  to  be  left  with  the  Queen's  Page  in  attendance  in 
the  corridor,  and  the  other  to  be  delivered  to  the  Lord  Cham- 
berlain, who  will  announce  the  name  to  the  Queen. 

PRESENTATIONS. 

Anv  Nobleman  or  Gentleman  who  proposes  to  be  presented 


PRESEN  TATION  AT  COURT. 


377 


to  the  Queen  must  leave  at  the  Lord  Chamberlain's  Office,  before, 
twelve  o'clock,  two  clear  days  before  the  Levee,  a  card  with  his 
name  written  thereon,  and  with  the  name  of  the  Nobleman  or 
Gentleman  by  whom  he  is  to  be  presented.  In  Order  to  carry 
out  the  existing  regulation  that  no  presentation  can  be  made  at 
a  Levee  excepting  by  a  person  actually  attending  that  Levee,  it 
is  also  necessary  that  a  letter  from  the  Nobleman  or  Gentleman 
who  is  to  make  the  presentation,  stating  it  to  be  his  intention 
to  be  present,  should  accompany  the  presentation  card  above 
referred  to,  which  will  be  submitted  to  the  Queen  for  Her 
Majesty's  approbation.  It  is  Her  Majesty's  command,  that  no 
presentations  shalT'be  made  at  the  Levees,  except  in  accordance 
with  the  above  regulations. 

It  is  particularly  requested,  that  in  every  case  the  names  be 
very  distinctly  written  upon  the  cards  to  be  delivered  to  the 
Lord  Chamberlain,  in  order  that  there  may  be  no  difficulty  in 
announcing  them  to  the  Queen. 

The  state  apartments  will  not  be  open  for  the  reception  of 
the  company  coming  to  Court  until  half-past  one  o'clock. 

These  regulations  apply  equally  to  ladies  and  gentlemen. 
Directions  at  what  gate  to  enter,  and  where  the  carriages 
are  to  set  down,  are  always  printed  in  the  newspapers. 

It  is  desirable  to  be  early,  in  order  to  avoid  the  great 
crowd,  which,  of  late  years,  has  rendered  attendance  at  the 
drawing-room  a  great  effort,  even  to  the  strongest.  On 
getting  out  of  the  carriage,  everything  in  the  shape  of 'a 
cloak,  or  scarf,  even  of  lace,  must  be  left  behind ;  the  train 
is  folded  carefully  over  the  left  arm,  and  the  wearer  enters 
the  long  gallery  at  St.  James's,  where  she  waits  until  her 
turn  comes  for  presentation  :  she  then  proceeds  to  the  Pre- 
sence-Chamber, wThich  is  entered  by  two  doors ;  she  goes 
in  by  that  indicated  to  her,  and,  on  finding  herself  in  the 
Presence-Chamber,  lets  down  her  train,  which  is  instantly 
spread  out  by  the  Lords-in-waiting  with  their  wands,  so 
that  the  lady  walks  easily  forward  to  the  Queen.  The  card 
on  which  the  lady's  name  is  inscribed  is  then  handed  to 
another  Lord-in- waiting,  who  reads  the  name  aloud  to  the 
3  B 


4 

378  PRESENTATION  AT  COURT.  ^ 

U     °  /  *«^> 

Queen.  When  she  arrives  just  before  Her  Majesty,  she 
should  curtsey  very  low,  so  low  as  almost,  but  not  quite,  to 
kneel  to  the  Queen,  who,  if  the  lady  presented  be  a  peeress, 
or  a  peer's  daughter,  kisses  her  forehead ;  if  merely  a  com- 
moner, holds  out  her  hand  to  be  kissed  by  the  lady  pre- 
sented, who,  having  done  so,  rises,  and  making  another 
curtsey  to  Prince  Albert,  and  also  severally  to  any  member,- 
of  the  Royal  Family  present,  and  then  passes  on,  keepina 
her  face  towards  the  Queen,  and  backing  out  to  the  doo: 
appointed  for  those  who  go  out  of  the  Presence-Chamber. 

In  this  transient  scere,  habitual  elegance  and  dignity  c 
carriage,  presence  of  mind,  coupled  with  the  respectfi 
demeanour  proper  on  such  occasions,  are  requisite,  an 
nervousness  and  diffidence  are  as  much  out  of  place  as 
bold  and  careless  deportment. 


1